You’ve probably seen them. Actually, you can’t really miss them at the moment. The new poster campaign and TV commercial for Lloyds Bank. It is amazing how both Lloyds and their advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R must think that we are all brain dead because they have re-launched Lloyds as a warm, cosy, caring bank. And we are supposed to swallow it.
We are expected to forget about the bank’s PPI mis-selling, for which Lloyds has set aside £5.3 billion so far to pay in compensation– far more than any other bank. Or the sacking of 43,000 staff. Or the £11 billion of taxpayer funds to stop them going under. Following that saga, Eric Daniels (then boss of Lloyds) was ousted but stayed on the pay roll at almost £100,000 a month for doing nothing before walking off with his £5 million pension pot.
Or the fact that they paid more than 20 of their new, top staff £1 million each or more last year, while over 4,000 of their low-paid worker bees got no pay increases at all. And then there was their involvement in the Libor-rigging scandal. There are even ‘unsubstantiated’ rumours that the government used its close relationship with various members of the Lloyds Bank board to arrange the acquisition of the disastrous HBOS.
And if all that were not enough, the new chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, António Horta-Osório, is in line for a bigger bonus than expected, after the government sold off the first tranche of its stake in the bailed-out bank for a £60 million profit.
But hey, just like magic, we are supposed to forget all that because the bank now really cares. Like hell they do. They care so much that they only pay 1.49% interest on deposits but, should you want to borrow, well, it’s only 14.4%. And God forbid if you slip into an unauthorised overdraft: they’ll have you by the short and curlies.
Forget all the above: Lloyds now really cares. It says so on the posters. And if that were not enough, they have made a commercial that takes much (if not all) of its inspiration from director Mike Mills’ graphic interventions in his film Beginners, take a look.
I find it extraordinary that an advertising agency could come up with this sanctimonious baloney with a straight face. But I guess money really talks and this campaign must have cost millions in media spend. It is quite shameful. And the irony is we still own 32.7% of the bank.
This is what Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R have to say on their wedsite:
"We're very excited to show some of our new work for Lloyds Banking Group. They have redefined the identity and customer experience of its most iconic brand, Lloyds Bank. The new brand positioning, identity and through-the-line campaign aim to demonstrate that the bank is continually evolving and truly understands what matters in life today." Now, I really belive that don't you?
If this agency pulls off changing the nation’s mind about Lloyds, think what they could do for Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin and Jimmy Savile. It doesn’t bear thinking about.