CommBank reveals its new position: ‘Can’


CommBank has ditched its “determined to be different” positioning in favour of the one word proposition “Can” in a rebranding led by chief marketing officer Andy Lark and the bank’s new creative agency M&C Saatchi.

The five month relaunch project – labelled internally as “Project Northstar” – follows a week long teaser campaign around the word “Can’t”. It launches today with an execution in News Limited’s metro Sunday papers which sees them enhanced with an augmented reality app integrated with content throughout various sections.

It will be followed tonight with a 60 second TV ad fronted by actress Toni Collette reciting a poem “An ode to Can” penned by M&C Saatchi around the word “Can”. There is also a heavy outdoor component. CommBank’s media agency is Ikon.

The bank has also ditched its helvetica typeface in favour of Aachen. And it has added blue to its yellow and black colour palette. Lark said: “We discovered women don’t respond to black and yellow very well.”

Collette will only feature in the initial ad, which will quickly be supplanted by a series of messages around the word “Can”, including lifestage stories being told through Facebook updates.

Lark said: “During our research, the message we got was that all through these life events the bank helps me move forward. We said how do we really stand for something in people’s lives and articulate our role in helping them move forward in life’s journey?”

Four ads are ready to start running almost immediately with the bank’s digital payment app Kaching featuring prominently in marketing to the under-35 market on shows such as The Voice, along with messaging around staff offering a warmer welcome than the rest of the world in an ad called “Concierge”.

In this interview, Mumbrella editor Tim Burrowes, talks to Lark and M&C Saatchi’s executive creative director Tom McFarlane about the rebrand; along with News Australia Sales boss Tony Kendall, Explore Engage’s Scott O’Brien and Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen about the augmented reality app:

The CommBank relaunch campaign – to be followed by a further big push to tie in with its Olympic broadcast sponsorship will have one of the biggest media budgets of the year. Lark said it would be “many many millions”.

The move is one of the most significant pieces of bank marketing activity since NAB launched its award winning, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne masterminded Breakup campaign last year, in which the bank distanced itself from its rivals.

Lark signalled that he intended not to take on his big four rivals directly. He said: “We are a leadership brand. We are not a challenger brand. We’re not a Virgin or a NAB. Our customers said to us ‘don’t do the highly competitive stuff’.”

He added: “We have no interest in winning awards. The only goal that matters is the balance sheet.”

Although Lark is known as one of the most digitally engaged marketers in Australia, he underlined his commitment to print as an advertising medium. Speaking of the augmented reality execution – which he credited News Limited for proposing – he said: “I think it’s the future of newspapers. It’s a really interesting way of creating an attachment between physical and virtual. We believe in print. Its death has been wildly overstated.”

Lark went out of his way to avoid any criticism of his predecessor Mark Buckman (now at Telstra), despite having now reversed the two key element’s of Buckman’s tenure – the switch from US ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to M&C, and the move away from the “determined to be different” line.

He said: “My predecessors have done an amazing job of creating a great brand. One of the options was: do we stick with ‘determined to be different’. We even looked at (going back to) ‘Which Bank’. We tested a lot of ideas. What we heard resoundingly was that the quality of this idea was so strong.

“Four years ago we laid out a journey of getting to number one in customer service. having got close to that, you ask, how do you pivot off that?”

Winning CommBank came as a lifeline for M&C Saatchi which lost ANZ bank just months earlier. Speaking of Goodbys being based in San Francisco, Lark said: “The geographic stuff was always a problem for me although they were always committed to opening a big Sydney office if they won.”


  1. A woman.
    27 May 12
    8:50 am

  2. “women don’t respond to black and yellow very well”

    Adding blue hardly seems like an answer, but I am intrigued by the finding.

  3. Joe
    27 May 12
    9:38 am

  4. Big, bold, simple and effective. This is why M&C gets the big jobs.

  5. Angus
    27 May 12
    9:53 am

  6. But aren’t they now inextricably linked with the word ‘can’t’?

    Also, bugger adding blue, just remove the black. And make the yellow a 2012 yellow. If such a thing exists.

  7. CBAye
    27 May 12
    10:18 am

  8. CBA doubled the cost of their banking cheques from $5 to $10 bucks, because they CAN…

  9. njk
    27 May 12
    10:18 am

  10. One-word campaigns are fraught I reckon. Before too long this will be bastardised to become a negative headline like “Commbank raises interest rates again? Yes they can”. Stupid.

  11. Chill Blayne
    27 May 12
    10:20 am

  12. Amazing that they got Toni Collette. A woman with principles; good choice.

  13. Adam Joseph
    27 May 12
    10:26 am

  14. CAN

    For big brands that deliver many services, it’s a gigantic word which sets up a brand promise around customer service attitudes, delivery and satisfaction.

    “Can” is a bit like the word “Yes” which Optus has been using as a core part of its brand positioning since 1992 (however Optus is a “challenger” not the no. 1)

    It will be interesting to see how “Can” resonates with all CBA’s customer segments: retail, business and institutional – now it’s out of focus groups and in the field.

    In this article Andy Lark makes the statement “We have no interest in winning awards. The only goal that matters is the balance sheet.” Hmmmm.

    That’s an interesting quote. If CommBank’s brand value is listed under intangible assets on the CBA balance sheet, they are pretty sure to demonstrate ROMI in a year’s time if the bank’s velocity in the BrandZ study is anything to go by:

    If however by “balance sheet” Lark is referring to customer acquisition numbers (as NAB evidenced as proof of effectiveness for the Break-Up campaign) then I’d be really interested to know what the expectations are for customer growth as a result of the repositioning and the “many many million” dollar marketing campaign.

    Although I suspect that they “Can’t” say …

  15. Mango
    27 May 12
    10:53 am

  16. Great way to launch a new campaign. Love the poem, love the whole idea of
    getting Toni Collette involved. Seems very ‘un-addy’ and I like that.

  17. Ashley ringrose
    27 May 12
    11:21 am

  18. Toni collete is an interesting choice, I would have preferred not to see her face and hear her voice. The fact they mentioned blue for females in new direction makes me think she was chosen to appeal to the female audience mainly?

    I look forward to seeing this roll out as it feels less BS than ‘determined to be different’. I hope it’s not all poems and serious because we need to laugh.

    Side note: anyone with Singaporean friends or expats will find the ‘can’ line funny as that’s the usually affirmative response you hear there :) want to go to lunch? Can!

  19. J
    27 May 12
    12:34 pm

  20. Good old M&C. Always thinking beyond just the next campaign. CAN can – and will – go the distance. Because it owns a huge yet focused creative and emotional/philsophical territory for CBA. Vintage stuff.

  21. Jon
    27 May 12
    12:36 pm

  22. And the legs on this idea go on forever. As a DM lead I’d love to get my hands on a clear, simple prop like this…

  23. T
    27 May 12
    12:41 pm

  24. Simple big-brand stuff. Nice job guys.

  25. Davo
    27 May 12
    12:46 pm

  26. I’d like to salute M&C’s work ethic.

    It’s Sunday but they’re hard at the astroturfing, I see.

  27. David
    27 May 12
    12:50 pm

  28. M&C have always pulled out the right campaign for the big brands time and time again. It’s no surprise they’re the first point of call for many big brands. The launch spot – beautiful. The follow up – let’s see how they back it up. Apparently Toni’s only in this one so it’ll be interesting to see how they go.

    Very, very nice start though.

  29. JP
    27 May 12
    1:07 pm

  30. Or people genuinely like the idea, you cynical little can’t-er. LOL

  31. IP Police
    27 May 12
    1:17 pm

  32. @Davo – yeah, reckon you’re right. Comments #2, #10, #11 and #12 don’t smell right. To me that suggests an agency that is insecure about their work.

  33. Davo's mate
    27 May 12
    2:52 pm

  34. Davo clealy on the money … Pleasant but hardly earth shattering. Actually a liitle boring even with the impressive Toni Collette.

    It’s arrogance for a utility like organisation to believe they are an important part of life decisions. No you’re not … You’re the bottle neck that makes reaching those milestones more stressful than they need to be. That’s why Determined to be Different was smart. It acknowledged customer cynicism and said you’d improve. We started to believe it too!

    Arrogance and too much money CAN lose sight of reality.

  35. Sunday Morning
    27 May 12
    3:27 pm

  36. Congrats to Mumbrella moderating on a Sunday! Impressive!

    I’m a customer and a little disappointed CBA haven’t used Netbank (Internet banking) as a key launch pad for the campaign. It gets thousands/millions logging in on Sunday and is an absolutely world class platform yet not one message to me in there. Big missed opportunity for a captive and receptive audience. All I got was a boring takeover screen telling me they’ve changed the layout again.

    No point having a focus on technology and balance sheet if you’re not thinking about using your influencers and advocates first.

  37. gva
    27 May 12
    3:55 pm

  38. Driving past bus stop after bus stop plastered with the word “CAN’T” in a predictable slab serif didn’t make me curious, it made me yawn. All that was going through my mind is “This is not clever it is overstated bait”.

    Nice work.

  39. Me
    27 May 12
    4:10 pm

  40. ‘can’ is about as differentiating as ‘real’. Not clever, and referring that often to research groups isn’t leadership. Not a complete waste of coin, but won’t build the CBA brand.

  41. Bob
    27 May 12
    4:24 pm

  42. I wonder how much Toni Collette cost? Still it would be a pittance for the Commonwealth

  43. Trevor Trevorsen
    27 May 12
    4:49 pm

  44. @Ashley Ringrose. Good point, though CBA should have followed “Can” with the mysterious “Lah”. The next campaign will roll out tthe equally mysterious “also can”.

  45. Archie
    27 May 12
    5:37 pm

  46. Commonwealth bank really helped those storm victims lose their homes And investment properties too. They ‘can’ compensate you if you complain loudly enough.

    Agree that the Lark and/or Saatchi Astroturfing on mumbrella is dreadfully transparent. Guys next time be more subtle – your wanky language is a dead giveaway

  47. Virginia Gordon
    27 May 12
    5:52 pm

  48. Total total fail…I was loving the ad, amazed Toni Collette would associate herself with a cause…and genuinely expected it to be for CAN-TEEN…but no, bought by a bank…undid what for another “cause” or brand would be a brilliant ad. Prove me wrong Comm Bank – maybe women fall for this stuff but I sense they will feel maniuplated and used. Great ad for the wrong product IMHO….and I am a Comm Bank girl, from the early loyalty of school banking:)

  49. Eek
    27 May 12
    6:09 pm

  50. ‘Can’ is not a positioning. One word doesn’t make it tight!!! it makes it vauge, and a category generic. Why is CBA more ‘can’ than anyone else. Just evidence that many ad agencies don’t get positioning

  51. st
    27 May 12
    6:33 pm

  52. I really like Tago Mago, and I really don’t like bees. So this justifies everything for me.

  53. CBAye
    27 May 12
    6:49 pm

  54. @Adam Joseph

    A friedn of mine in ‘Gay Paris’ says Can Can dancers deliver “many services”…

  55. CBAye
    27 May 12
    6:49 pm

  56. friend…

    So a totally unbranded ‘teaser’ campaign is followed up by a one minute ad which mentions the brand(only via the logo) in the last second of a 60 minute spot. What a waste of money.

  57. Financial 'Can'nibalism
    27 May 12
    6:59 pm

  58. “burp…”

  59. mr astro turf
    27 May 12
    7:58 pm

  60. i dont remember being paid for any of this shit??!!??!!??!!??

    biggest turf delivery in years, even bigger than the super dry incident.

    its ok, but for fucks sake. hardly worthy of all this carry on. good bad or otherwise.

    guess nobody at M&C or ikon had a sunday given all the blog activity.

    turf on……

  61. Lo
    27 May 12
    8:02 pm

  62. Just saw the Toni Collette spot in a Masterchef break.
    Loved Muriel’s Wedding. Love this spot.

  63. Liam
    27 May 12
    8:25 pm

  64. Bring back the Dollarmites I say – animated rulers, personalized pencil cases and orange money boxes for all

  65. Gail
    27 May 12
    8:37 pm

  66. Creatively and conceptually it may work but in reality the bank will still be driven by its meaty bottom line and customers will still be bound by computer generated answers to customer requests, which makes the whole effort rather trite and meaningless. Can’t approve that overdraft. Can’t green light that mortgage application. Can’t open on Sundays. Can’t pass on the full RBA rate cut.

  67. Social Can and Cant's
    27 May 12
    10:24 pm

  68. It’s being slaughtered on Twitter…

  69. Elle
    27 May 12
    10:49 pm

  70. Was inspired until I realised it was an advertisement for a bank…worse… one of the big 4. Give me a break, what a ridiculous sentiment. The CBA have been screwing people for years. This campaign is already dead in the water.

  71. AdGrunt
    27 May 12
    11:23 pm

  72. This sounds like a rod for one’s back, unless CBA shareholders no longer wish to ream their customers.

  73. Thomas
    28 May 12
    6:54 am

  74. Strategically identical to Westpac ‘we know how’. It’s just going to be executed more comprehensively through media and with better substantiation (IT/channels) etc.

  75. Dave may
    28 May 12
    7:01 am

  76. Deserves credit – just like and actually a bit like Ted horton’s “we know how” for Westpac. – for at least coming from a good positive sentiment.

    What I prefer about ted’s work here, and my criticism of this work is why bother spending over 40s saying what’s wrong with can’t.

    If its a strong platform surely we could, and should, have had more of the can.

    On a personal level, I find the whole teaser campaign a little self indulgent and very 1990s. And I find the emotional consumer identification (we understand your psyche and we are just like you) more than a little sick making and way too transparent. You can see the quant in toni’s eyes.

    It wins on execution (if you forgive the missing branding) and wins on not trying to say “please like me” like all the other bank ads of the last 30 years (except Westpac).

    But will it grow share? Will it keep unhappy customers? Probably not. Is it a reflection of a decent customer service ethic? Yes but the CEO deserves that credit.

    Sorry but with the teaser, the app, the space Invaders game and the overall self indulgence of the media spend in difficult economic times it’s quite a big miss overall. Give it 5 out of ten.

  77. mimi
    28 May 12
    7:33 am

  78. As a regular consumer, my first thought is how much did Toni Collete cost/sell her soul for to be a part of this ad??? For customers being screwed by banks for every cent, I reckon there will be a backlash about a multi millionaire telling us that by using C’wth Bank “We Can!!” Not impressed- very very indulgent. “Davo’s Mate” is on the money- the bank is usually the one responsible when we “Can’t” with life’s big decisions.

  79. K
    28 May 12
    7:51 am

  80. After years of watching a brand jump all over the place, it’s nice to see a simple powerful platform for what I’m sure will be rolled out quickly and effectively. Well done!!

  81. bob is a rabbit
    28 May 12
    8:13 am

  82. Great work M&C…it’s work like this that makes me grateful to have this agency’s brand on my CV – even if it was several years ago.

  83. Rob
    28 May 12
    8:33 am

  84. “Women don’t respond to black and yellow very well”

    More like women don’t respond to banks that offer bad service & overcharge very well.

    Colour does play a role in choice – that is nothing new – but it’s not an all determining factor, especially in financial management decisions and to imply otherwise is as ridiculous as this updated version of the UK “TSB” campaign, “The bank that likes to say yes”.

  85. Rob
    28 May 12
    8:52 am

  86. Way overdone……..and fails the basic credibility hurdle. Like it or not Andy, all 4 big banks are truly despised and we all understand that shareholders always come first. Why don’t you set out to show you CAN, then tell us about it after. Might make it more believable, and less of a giant circle jerk.

    At least the NAB campaign was a bit interesting, even though it suffered the same credibility issues.

  87. lars ulrich
    28 May 12
    8:55 am

  88. Am I the only one (irrespective of whether I’m wearing my ‘marketing’ hat or ‘consumer’ hat) that finds the notion of ‘branding’ amongst the Big 4 totally redundant? There’s no incentive to be loyal to one bank over another. You don’t get rewarded for being a long-term customer. There’s essentially no differentiation between them, aside from +/-0.1% on your mortgage / term deposit, which varies monthly depending on which way the wind blows.

    If I was a Commbank customer or shareholder I’d be disappointed to see “many many millions” spent on another major brand positioning campaign to boost the ego of the new CMO.

    “The only goal that matters is the balance sheet.” – Right, well good luck with that.

    “We believe in print.” – Wow, you’re one of the very few..

  89. Devil's advocaat
    28 May 12
    9:05 am

  90. It is nice to see some really concerted astroturfing – well done Saatchi and CommBank.

    I particularly like this campaign because it allows lame jokes like this:

    CommBank are a bunch of complete cants.

  91. Adam Joseph
    28 May 12
    9:22 am

  92. This has just reminded me of the movie The Negotiator. The scene where Samuel Jackson tells the negotiator never to say “No” to a hostage taker:

    I’m sure all CBA staff have been shown this video and told from now on never to say “Can’t” to a customer. Otherwise, it’s inconsistent with the brand, right?

    @CBAye – yes, more ‘kicks’ to be had with your mention than with the TVC.

    @Gail – you nailed it.

  93. mao
    28 May 12
    9:22 am

  94. epic fail… the can’t will resonate with every failure to pass on the flu interest rate cut, the tele will love it!

  95. From the West
    28 May 12
    9:25 am

  96. “She grew up in Blacktown, her father was a truck driver…” Wow, that must have been hard.

  97. Helicopter view
    28 May 12
    9:26 am

  98. Yeah and surely we can all think beyond the one launch ad here. They’ve nailed a property that has massive scope for future ads – many of them. Really they’re owning an ethos for CBA. It’s not just about the 1st TVC.

  99. Thalia
    28 May 12
    9:32 am

  100. The “whatiscant” website – using the word “CAN” 37 times in total – slight overkill?

  101. richie
    28 May 12
    9:36 am

  102. underwhelming for me I’m afraid but its early days in how this will roll out.

    just doesn;t seem to be that interesting an idea, too ambiguous, lofty without being profound.

    yeah, not for me

  103. A Rat
    28 May 12
    9:40 am

  104. *sniff sniff*

    Davo #13, I think you’re on the money. Something here stinks… and it’s not just this campaign.

  105. Zac Anesbury
    28 May 12
    9:42 am

  106. Why not go utilise their preexisting distinctive assets?

    Which Bank? Commonwealth Bank.

  107. kate
    28 May 12
    9:51 am

  108. Why is she dressed like a bank teller – I couldn’t really get over that – and the fact I was being read a bed-time story.

    Now an ad that talked about reinvesting profits back to customers – that’s an ad I’d like to see!

  109. Ex-MSM
    28 May 12
    9:52 am

  110. My partner watched the ad and got really excited by it. I knew what was coming, but thought I’d wait for her reaction.

    When she realised it was a bank ad, she seemed genuinely betrayed. “Why the f*** would Toni Collete do something like that?” From a woman who rarely swears. She truly hated it.

    Then she started ranting about an incident in here teens when CommBank overdrew her account with fees and then charged her a hefty overdrawn fee.

    From what I’ve seen online, her reaction was not atypical. Social media is destroying this badly conceived campaign.

  111. MT
    28 May 12
    9:55 am

  112. It now reads almost like a question due to logo placement, CAN Combank?… Can they win people over with a change in their ad…no, maybe they can look at improving their services

  113. Cant
    28 May 12
    9:56 am

  114. What is thirsty hungry?

  115. Nat
    28 May 12
    9:58 am

  116. Wow – I dont like it at all. A bit over the big 4 talkin gabout how they are all about customers or different when they do not deliver on what they are saying. Yes its a nicer experience when you walk in a branch but it ends there. There is noone out there really operating with people as their focus so this is just rubbish.

    Way too much positive comments on here. Smells like turfing.

  117. Trevor
    28 May 12
    10:10 am

  118. WONT

  119. Peter
    28 May 12
    10:13 am

  120. Ahem. Not even Toni Collette can get me to love a bank. They waste all this money trying to get us to love them rather than being actually loveable. The campaign, on a technical level, is fine, but they have to back it up by not being jerks. Which banks find hard.

  121. Luke
    28 May 12
    10:42 am

  122. I’ve got to say that I really like this. I’ve heard of and seen a few examples of M&C Saatchi’s philosophy of ‘Simplicity’, so hats off to all involved for this execution. There’s no doubt that owning a single word is a smart strategy. The fact that this is now etched in our own minds after a mere 12 hours is testament to that. Before all the naysayers try and kill this, we should all keep in mind that the purpose of this ad is to establish the foundation for Commbank’s future communication. We now know the word they want to own, and also the sentiment, so let’s sit back and see how they now evolve it and bring it to life. Looking forward to it.

  123. Dorothy
    28 May 12
    10:45 am

  124. I think the ad is well done, the teaser campaign was interesting, I like Toni Collette. But at the end of the day, it’s a big branding campaign for a bank. And no amount of celebrity or positive messaging will change the fact that it’s a bank. A big, greedy, evil bank. At least I know where all my bank fees are being spent though. Commbank customer since 1992.

  125. Kelly
    28 May 12
    10:54 am

  126. Doesn’t hit the mark for me. Full disclosure, I work for a competitor but I have been following the pre-launch activity and was expecting something quite big from CBA.

    Instead we get a twee poem read by an awkward Toni Collette.

    The concept of ‘Can’ is too broad and generic, and the digital support is simply a rehashing of existing assets without much explanation as to why they exemplify ‘Can’.

    Will be interesting to see where they go from here, but so far I’m not blown away.

  127. _ I have some more?
    28 May 12
    11:01 am

  128. Waste of money and more annoying than anything else.
    _ I have some more????????

  129. Priorities
    28 May 12
    11:05 am

  130. Quite frankly, I don’t give a toss about all this ridiculous hype, or who they pay millions of dollars to communicate it. Until a bank, that earns billions of dollars a year, can change the interest earned on my mortgage to be considerably less that the actual loan itself then I might consider them even vaguely concerned about “how we really stand for something in people’s lives and articulate our role in helping them move forward in life’s journey?”.

  131. Tom Dery
    28 May 12
    11:07 am

  132. This comment particularly addressed to ‘Davo’ and ‘I P Police”:
    A whole lot of people make positive comments and they are ‘astroturfing’.
    A whole lot of people make negative comments and they are all genuine.
    Until the cowardly shroud of anonymity is lifted we’ll never really know.

  133. Offal Spokesperson
    28 May 12
    11:11 am

  134. If only their word was WILL… I am well aware of what the big (stinking, filthy, evilempire) banks can do…. not so sure about what the WILL do.

  135. Les Posen
    28 May 12
    11:13 am

  136. Waiting for the Youtube mashup of Toni Collette, Can’t->Can, and United States of Tara… We’re are all the creatives when you need them?

  137. Les Posen
    28 May 12
    11:14 am

  138. That would be Where not we’re, of course….

  139. MD
    28 May 12
    11:15 am

  140. What CAN they do? Waste way too much money on a feelgood campaign that is going to backfire? The poem may have sold the idea to CBA but it won’t sell to the public. Also, lucky they got partnered with the Courier Mail, maybe it will prevent a “CAN put up interest rates” headline, but not for long. Maybe I’m too close to the industry, but all this build up for a poem?! If they had of launched with a 0.5 or 1% rate cut we’d probably have seen some serious switching!

  141. Harry
    28 May 12
    11:31 am

  142. This is simple Nauseating. It’s talks to me like I’m a small child or some kind of moron. Made by people (banks and advertising folks) that treats everyday people like total CUN_S.

  143. talkingboonie
    28 May 12
    11:36 am

  144. Sunday’s astroturfing is hilarious. If you hold a mortgage and don’t hold shares in one of the big four, you hate them, regardless of the roadblock of condescension (and why exactly is Toni Collette s credible by the way? Something to do with Blacktown or something? Is it a woman thing, such as liking the colour blue?). While THEY can take the T off CAN’T, I and many other young miscreants roaming the streets can change the A into a U and throw an S on the end. Quite a basic thing, but when it comes to a bank I would not have made so prominent the letters C, N & T…

  145. Derper
    28 May 12
    11:42 am

  146. The pure ridiculousness and scripted feel of the turfing comments above are laughable…

    Coming from a large advertising agency, I’m sure they were pre-written, approved by the client and distributed to Saatchi employees weeks ago.

    That’s how you control and drive engagement isn’t it?? :p

  147. Les Posen
    28 May 12
    11:48 am

  148. @talkingboonie: especially the prominence given to women’s views in the focus group research… might come back to bite them several centimetres further south

  149. Bill Heslop
    28 May 12
    11:55 am

  150. Deidre Chambers! What a coincidence!

  151. Australian with a bank account
    28 May 12
    12:17 pm

  152. I Can’t believe Toni Collette sold out
    I Can’t believe they thought it would be a good idea to do the ad in rhyme
    I Can’t stand the commercial
    I Can’t see what they are actually trying to tell us

    I Can believe this took a lot of smooth talking from Saatchi
    I Can see people getting p!ssed off with all banks as a result of this campaign
    I Can see this falling flat on it’s face

  153. JB
    28 May 12
    12:20 pm

  154. Should have lead with a campaign entitled; ‘FAIL’ – would have been more authentic and in tune with customer perception of how banks perform. Agree with many of the others, this will prove to be a rod for their back when they announce new record profits, hike up rates and on charge fees – its so comforting for so many who are big 4 customers to know such expensive exercises are being undertaken to define who your banking institution really is and of course what colours appeal to females – invaluable research. ‘Comm Bank – self interested about your money’

  155. Blue
    28 May 12
    12:21 pm

  156. You’ve got to praise him for honesty. “We have no interest in winning awards” [or what anyone thinks about us]. “The only goal that matters is the balance sheet.”
    At a time when all the other banks try and con us into thinking they care about us, he’s switched the focus back to what matters to them – making the most money.

  157. Brand Panda*
    28 May 12
    12:31 pm

  158. I loved the ad. Beautiful copy, beautfully performed. (How long since we’ve fallen in love with the copy on an ad? Thought it must have been a classic poem, but I’m pleased to hear it was specially written by the agency)

    It DID make me feel warmer about the bank! while the ‘teaser’ posters weren’t intriguing to me (although the guessing games on Mumbrella were..) this ad feels like the start of bigger and better things to come. And it’s a refreshingly positive message, when other brands (banks in particular) play on the negatives (NAB: we’re ‘breaking up’ with those other b@$tards)

    Good on CommBank for going big, bold and positive.

    *Not a client, an agency nor an employee of CommBank

  159. Chris
    28 May 12
    12:42 pm

  160. CAN pointlessly add to air pollution and traffic by driving diesel trucks around with big letters on the back.

    Surely mobile billboards just create negativity, especially when advertising a bank.

  161. Jon Don
    28 May 12
    12:54 pm

  162. Where is the colour blue they keep talking about?

  163. booyah
    28 May 12
    1:15 pm

  164. Toni Collette? Couldn’t they afford The Mentalist guy?

  165. 2ndchoice
    28 May 12
    1:51 pm

  166. So Toni was the 2nd choice, there was another australian that was their orginal pick but did not resonate with australians and in fact did not polarise’, my money is on Hugh Jackman…any other guesses?

  167. bandit
    28 May 12
    1:54 pm

  168. You know what would have won me over? A simple ad telling me that they actually care enough about customers to NOT spend “many many millions” on a stupid campaign and put it back into lowering fees or doing the right thing by customers.
    I’ve recently had a really good experience with CBA (they refunded a buttload of fees to me because I complained) and all the warm and fuzzies I had for the bank has been undone by this campaign.
    They care enough about the consumer to know that women don’t like yellow and black yet completely fail to recognise that we don’t care about overpriced crap like this?
    Put money where mouth is and do things FOR consumer not insulting consumer.

    Also, the last time I cared about a teaser campaign was when I was trying to figure out “Lulu, is that you?” of course I was 5 at the time….

  169. Eyeroll Extraordinaire
    28 May 12
    2:56 pm

  170. “Creative agency”…can we be a bit more liberal with the word “creative”, especially when it comes to terrible ads based off of one word?

  171. Eyeroll Extraordinaire
    28 May 12
    2:58 pm

  172. Oh, and in addition to the above? This ad is friggin awful. Just awful. Anyone disagreeing must be on the payroll.

  173. CLOSE OUT
    28 May 12
    4:17 pm

  174. How does Toni Collette reading DR SEUSS make me want to change banks?

  175. Derper
    28 May 12
    4:39 pm

  176. The editorial around this campaign is a little on the nose from BnT and SMH….and others.

    I wonder how those publishers could in fact have written anything but a glowing review considering the obviously huge amounts CBA is spending with them on advertising.

  177. Wow
    28 May 12
    7:48 pm

  178. omG! I love it.

  179. @2ndchoice
    28 May 12
    7:59 pm

  180. Unless the campaign included the power of dance, Hugh was never going to be a taker.

  181. Really?
    28 May 12
    11:03 pm

  182. ‘Can’ as a brand promise, with absolutely no reason to believe? Could one of the other Big 3 say “we can too”, Sure they could. Not ownable. Not unique. Poor work. Sorry

  183. aa
    28 May 12
    11:25 pm

  184. So its true, money (for ad campaigns) CAN’T buy love (from your customers).

  185. audrey
    29 May 12
    3:06 am

  186. all the other banks can’t > CBA can??

    i did NOT see that coming!!!

    dull, and until they spend invest in fixing their customer service, a waste of money. even toni collette can’t drown out millions of people comparing their CBA battle stories. (i would still marry her though)

  187. lachl
    29 May 12
    6:35 am

  188. Derper you are a dickhead.on the basis of that argument the media would totally support every major advertiser in their papers.I don<t see the tele going easy on bashing the supermarkets yet coles and woolies spend vastly more than CBA..

  189. the worker
    29 May 12
    8:17 am

  190. Have you people got nothing better to do?Bit sad really.

  191. Ex-MSM
    29 May 12
    9:47 am

  192. “I wonder how those publishers could in fact have written anything but a glowing review considering the obviously huge amounts CBA is spending with them on advertising.”

    And you wonder why people are switching off MSM in droves….

    The parasite is killing the host.

  193. Dan Ilic
    29 May 12
    10:01 am

  194. HAHA This is my favourite:

    95. the worker
    29 May 12
    8:17 am

    Have you people got nothing better to do?Bit sad really.

  195. Tabitha
    29 May 12
    1:45 pm

  196. the world needs a “Nimble” bank

  197. Dave may
    29 May 12
    1:49 pm

  198. So. Comm bank CAN. BUT. Dick DOES. Are these not one and the same idea? WESTPAC WILL anyone?

  199. Marrickvillain
    29 May 12
    1:59 pm

  200. Someone should show this to the folks who penned the stupid “Be bold” screed for Blackberry, as it is everything the Blackberry effort is not.

  201. Anonymous
    29 May 12
    2:53 pm

  202. ‘can’ = ‘determined to be the same’

  203. Big Fourish
    29 May 12
    6:49 pm

  204. W-estpac – Won’t
    A-NZ – Aren’t
    N-AB – Needn’t
    C-BA – Can’t

    Banks, like many ad agencies, do not really give two hoots about society. Therefore campaigns like this will often backfire, especially in this climate with digital social networks, with the public knowing that they couldn’t care less about them.

    The big four:

  205. Officer Krupke
    29 May 12
    6:49 pm

  206. “C’mon folks,move on …nothing more to see here!”

  207. Former Bank Marketer
    30 May 12
    9:57 am

  208. Seems pretty clear that the people dissing this are looking at it from a short term tactical point of view, as a one-off. They probably see themselves as strategic heavyweights, but aren’t.

    If you start to think about how this positioning could be built on over an extended period of years, then you really see it’s merit.

    I think M&C have a done a great job here, and also the client as well, to buy into an idea far bigger than the next six months dross like the rest.

    We should be judging this next year, rather than now.

    Yes ultimately they are a bank. So what, a sugary drink is a sugary drink. It’s always been the role of marketing to sell the upside. If you don’t like that, get out of the industry.

  209. Archie
    30 May 12
    12:21 pm

  210. Former bank marketer I think it’s you who sees himself or herself as a strategic heavyweight, but isn’t .

    Ask joe average what the last 3 cba campaigns were and they would not have a bloody clue

  211. AdGrunt
    30 May 12
    6:13 pm

  212. Archie,

    Maybe that’s why they changed agency?

  213. Pedant
    31 May 12
    3:16 pm

  214. Is it just me or anyone else removed the apostrophe?

    CANT : insincere, especially conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.

  215. Archie
    31 May 12
    8:40 pm

  216. Adgrunt what I mean is that the view that consumers recall and connect previous ads is unrealistic and merely an adland conceit

  217. Gold Member
    2 Jun 12
    11:22 am

  218. For all the debate over whether an actor reading Dr Zeus, or if a teaser campaign was a steal from someone else. Or if anyone could remember any of the CommBanks last 4 campaigns despite spending bazillions (I cant !).

    The real question is twofold. 1-Would any of this make me more loyal if i was a CommBank customer, and 2-Would it make me more disposed to consider switching if i was not.

    Aside from the colours of their logos all the big banks are the same. A bunch of greedy oligopolists, that have no need to worry about competition. They could do no advertising, and they would still make mega billions in profit.

    There is no need to research anything, as people hate them all. Whether they CAN or CANT or Live in our World, or any other irrelevant rubbish. Just as you CAN’T polish a turd, you also cannot make one taste any better with choc icing. A turd is a turd.

    If a bank really wanted to do something to address my 2 key issues above, it would need to give me the consumer something that i want, that the other 3 banks are not.

    AUTHENTICITY (Being true it’s brand)
    INNOVATION (Constantly changing for the betterment of its customer base, cut fees, cut rates, better service)
    DIFFERENTIATION (Being really different than the others, passing on full rate cuts etc…)

    And once the Bank 2.0’s offer had been reformed, the advertising message that would best carry this would be one of “CHANGE YOUR BANK”

    We changed our Bank, now you should change yours”.

    If a big 4 bank did this then I and probably 50% of bank customers would change too.

  219. Gold Member
    2 Jun 12
    11:34 am

  220. “The bank has also ditched its helvetica typeface in favour of Aachen. And it has added blue to its yellow and black colour palette. Lark said: “We discovered women don’t respond to black and yellow very well.”

    Now the above is exactly what i was referencing. Would i be more loyal because of Aachen ? And would i switch my current bank because of a bit of blue in their colour palette. Choc icing anyone.


  221. Anders
    3 Jun 12
    12:25 pm

  222. This ad seeks to emotionally appeal to us by reminding us of our very own sense of free will in the life decisions we all have to make. This is a beautiful message. However, the usage of ‘can’ and the ideals of the poem become absolutely meaningless as we come to understand that the CBA seeks to increases it’s members by the falsehood of appealing to an audiences virtue.

    ‘Can’ do with out.

    This is because the bank assumes that our ‘can’ decisions, our free will need to be supported by a range of new bank services. It pigeon holes us and makes us believe that a
    It attempts to inspire us but all the while it’s brand is hidden until the ‘ T’ replaced.

  223. The Worst of Perth
    3 Jun 12
    7:47 pm

  224. Only just seen this. What a stinker on every possible level. Worst ad of the year so far.

  225. Justine Browsing
    15 Jun 12
    1:30 pm

  226. “Can” .. an outdated campaign stollen from the Obama election mantra of “Yes we Can” .. really original M&C and totally inappropriate for a bank, like the rest of them, that continually behave in a “can’t” like manner … changing just one little letter … oh dear … Don’t even get me started of the waste of money hiring Toni for the gig .. WT?

  227. Gold Member
    15 Jun 12
    3:27 pm

  228. CAN could be a workable campaign if the CBA actually had changed it’s methods of making its customers more satisfied. Who knows maybe that is going to come out in the subsequent ads, but i’m not holding my breath.

    But if it doesn’t really do something unbank like then CAN is just like KFC making ads telling us it is a slimming aid.

    A more honest reveal campaign would be the A turning into a U and adding an S at the end.

  229. ex-agency girl
    18 Jun 12
    1:58 pm

  230. Releasing a campaign with a negative BOLD word, and then erasing the ‘T was just plain insulting. Regardless of the agency patting themselves on the back, for a supposed job well done, will it change the banks profit-stealing behaviour? Doubt it. Will it make banking with them (or the big four for that matter) more likeable and a trusting experience? Doubt it also.

  231. Ms PR
    20 Jun 12
    1:15 pm

  232. Appreciate this is a customer acquisiton campaign. Interesting how there is no customer retention campaign – particulary as customers are increasginly unhappy and will certainly be taking up the new ops to make it easier to move.

  233. krangsquared
    22 Jun 12
    1:51 am

  234. Bob the Builder already has the jump on CBA. Dude has owned the phrase “Yes We Can” for at least 10 years, yo.

    “Which Bank” to me is probably their most memorable line.

    The “determined to be different” thing was a total joke. Like the little puffing train, going “I think I can, I think I can!” Determined? Why not just BE different?? “But people might expect us to be different when maybe we can’t! Let’s just say we want to try to be different.” So lame.