British Bank TSB Relaunches With Film Promoting Local Roots

Patrick Stewart Narrates Push Via Joint London

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To highlight its relaunch as an independent, British high-street bank TSB underlines its credentials as a bank with local, community heritage, in a 30-million-pound campaign that kicks off with this animated film by Joint. Narrated by Patrick Stewart (aka Professor X of "X-Men" and Captain Picard of "Star Trek") the spot tells the story of TSB's founding in 1810 by the Rev. Henry Duncan, when it was known as the Trustee Savings Bank and ends with the tagline "Welcome back to local banking."

The film, directed and co-written by StudioAKA's Marc Craste, combines old-school and new-school animation techniques in the form of hand-drawn line animation and CG -- which were meant to speak to the spot's underlying message. "What we were going for with the short film was to explain the true story behind the bank in a way that reflected the bank's heritage and modernity," explained Joint Creative Director Damon Collins.

As for the narration by Patrick Stewart? "Interestingly, when we asked him to do it, at first he said no," said Mr. Collins. "He didn't want to be associated with a bank. The CEO, Paul Pester, really wanted him to do it so he wrote to him personally. He outlined his vision for the bank, how it differed from all other banks in its model and how he believed that TSB could make a real difference to the lives of British people. Sir Patrick wanted to help Paul do that and agreed to help."

With its relaunch, TSB intends to promote itself as a "clean" bank, free from issues such as the toxic debt that has haunted other banking brands and more trustworthy than rivals. The feel-good animation and wholesome, back-to-the-roots message can't help but inspire comparisons to Chipotle's celebrated "Back to the Start" film, which showcased sustainable farming. In addition to the animated film, social-media activity will use the hashtag #HelloTSB, which will also feature in outdoor and print work.

TSB was a well-known advertiser in the '80s with a campaign promoting it as "the bank that likes to say yes." The brand disappeared from the high street following its takeover by Lloyds, which became Lloyds TSB, and the TSB was later dropped. However, European regulators now require TSB to separate from Lloyds Banking Group.

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