Category Archives: Marketing Deconstructed

Marketing Deconstructed: NatYes (Natwest Mortgage campaign)

It’s been two weeks since my last Marketing Deconstructed post on Coke, so back into the blogging fray and this time I am looking at NatWest’s NatYes campaign. In summary: I hate this campaign for 2 reasons, 1) It’s call to action didn’t work and 2) Isn’t saying yes to too many mortgages what got this bank into trouble in the first place? Now let’s dig in:

What are they trying to do?

I’m not 100% sure but here is my theory: Housing prices are back on the rise  driven, at least in part, by government subsidised low deposit purchase programmes and the liquidity provided by quantitative easing from the BOE. NatWest and RBS (their parent) want to make some money and seize a chunk of this growing market, this integrated campaign is their attempt to do just that. But there is a problem: Natwest have, consciously or not, targeted a certain segment of the market, the higher risk element. Think about it: You want a mortgage, what’s your primary concern? The lowest interest rate? The lowest arrangement fees? Or just getting the mortgage approved? If you’re in the last camp you’re probably in a riskier segment of the market, NatYes proudly proclaims: “We say yes to 9/10 mortgage applications” – actively targeting those concerned about their credit rating, did they mean to do that? I don’t know. Another concern: In the post credit crunch world should a state owned bank that lost billions playing fast and loose with it’s mortgage risk profile be proudly proclaiming it’s saying yes to so many applications? I really am surprised this hasn’t blown up yet.

Have they succeeded?

Mixed results here too. The campaign is consistent and nicely integrated, the TV commercial is nice and all that’s well reflected on the front page of the website. BUT then there is the CTA, that’s important. The TV advert loudly proclaims: “search NatYes for more info” – OK cool, so why is it that for the first week or so of the campaign not Natwest sites ranked, in fact for a while the #1 rank was a blog post from an SEO manager about the failure of the CTA.

What could be better:

If you’re going to run a high budget, fully integrated campaign with a SEO led call to action then make damn sure you rank. In fairness I can see how this happened: The campaign launch date is set, the media is booked, then someone screws up and the SEO stuff isn’t ready to go, the campaign manager has to make a call, delay and lose the media or go and take the hit, they went, I might have done the same, but it’s a shame and shows not enough redundancy built into the campaign timing.

Regarding the why their doing this question: Hmmm, they know their risk profile better than me, but I think someone got a research report reading something like “People worry about their mortgage being rejected, of 2000 people surveyed that’s their top concern and no other bank is talking about it” so they ran with it, research can be a dangerous thing if not used carefully…

Scores on the doors:

This is a 3/10 job, it’s well integrated, the SEO issue is a fail but overall I think it’s a repeat of past mistakes, not all customers are good customers and not all profit is good profit! RBS learned this the hard way in 2008, I hope it’s not a lesson they need to learn again.


Marketing Deconstructed: SMART “Offroad” Commercial

Recently I had an idea for a blog, the idea was to deconstruct adverts and marketing campaigns, how they fit into the brand they’re promoting, their success or otherwise and reaction to them, I was going to call the blog but the URL was taken. Then I remembered I had a perfectly good blog here I wasn’t using nearly enough, so here is my new feature, in fact my only feature: Marketing Deconstructed.

Up first: SMART and their new “Offroad” campaign:

What are they trying to do?

Well it seems from the advert they are trying to do two things, 1) Establish the brand as quirky, funny and self depreciating, they want to be seen as different from the rest of the slightly po faced car industry, this sits well with who they are and the products they make and undoubtedly touches their target consumer who is going to be an independent thinker. 2) Demonstrate why you should buy a SMART car in a clever way: This is easier said than done and I think they’ve done a really good job. First off, they could have taken an eco road, but if I really want an eco car I will buy a hybrid and there is a lot of competition there, they could also have played on size and some kind of “bigger than you expect” angle, but the SMART four2 isn’t new, it’s been around 10 years or so now, so that wouldn’t cut through. The approach they took, poke fun at the 4×4 industry is good.

Did they succeed?

I think it’s too early to say, but to me it ticks all the right boxes, it’s cute, clever, and smart (pun intended). Sure this will get some backlash from the serious car owners and the 4×4 types but that’s good, they’ve taken a deliberate viewpoint here and people who buy a Smart are not going to be 4×4 converts anyway but they are the type who hates Chelsea tractors)

What could be better?

The TVC spot is great it broadly hit all the right notes for me, they’re could have been a longer, funnier, uncut version for social media and online that really takes the concept up a notch and they could take this into other areas: sports cars (imagine one of these on the Nurburgring!) However the SMART website and digital channels don’t seem to be carrying the same message or amplifying it, they also seem underwhelming as a whole which is a shame, if I’ve seen this video and then go to their .com page to find out more the same narrative should continue instead I am met with an old fashioned and very serious site.

Scores on the doors?

I give this an 8/10, it could have been a 9 or even 10 if the integration was better across digital and if they had taken it a bit further with other videos.

What do you think?