Bank of America is teaming up with rock star Billy Idol and director Christopher Guest for a series of spots slated to break on late-night TV this week. The spots use humor to push the bank's Preferred Rewards program.
The ads, created by Hill Holliday, spoof workplace meetings. Three comedians, who portray bankers, brainstorm ways to differentiate and promote Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program. They spend more time discussing what color marker to use than they do coming up with ideas. And after finally landing on the rock-star approach -- enter Billy Idol -- they can't seem to connect with him. In the end, Mr. Idol walks out of the studio, frustrated by their inane demands. The campaign tagline: "Life's better when we're connected."
The comedic narrative -- unique but not unusual for the brand, which has been leaning more towards humor in recent ads -- unfolds over four TV spots and aims to promote the rewards card in a fun way that stands out in the category. The ads also show the lighter side of the bank, which, like many of its competitors, is focused on connecting with consumers on a more emotional level.
"We thought it was just relatable -- who has not been in one of those meetings?" said Meredith Verdone, head of enterprise marketing at Bank of America, referring to the brainstorming sessions depicted in the spots. "It's a great way to kind of peek under the covers of who we are. We're bankers but we're also humans."
Most importantly, she added, the campaign illustrates the benefits of the program, in which members earn rewards for everything they do at the bank. And the more they do, the more rewards they earn. "We don't do humor for the sake of humor," Ms. Verdone said.
GO Film's Christopher Guest, best known for films like "Best In Show," was brought on to direct the spots because of his sense of humor, said Ms. Verdone. "Humor is a fine line," she said. "That selection of Christopher Guest was really important for us to really deliver on a more sophisticated humor."
The first ad in the series, "Pillars," will break during the premiere of CBS's "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Tuesday and the full series will air exclusively during late-night programming, including "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night With Seth Meyers" and "The Late Late Show with James Corden," for about four weeks.
"The [late-night] audience has the intellect and the age and the right demographic for this, and we wanted to see how they would react," said Spencer Deadrick, group creative director at Hill Holliday. "We thought, what better place to get this out this year?" he said of the premiere of Mr. Colbert's show.
Bank of America also began rolling out the work on social media on September 4th and pushing additional digital shorts as part of the effort.
Starcom handled media as well as media planning for social.
~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Digitas handled social-media planning.