Citi Breaks First Global Effort From Publicis

Unlike More Emotional Fallon Effort, New Theme Stresses Services

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NEW YORK ( -- Ever since Citi consolidated its estimated $150 million account with Publicis Seattle from Publicis Groupe sibling Fallon earlier this year, people have been watching closely to see the marketer's new approach. The result is a campaign far more traditional than its predecessor.

Print ads show how Citi can turn dreams into reality, using the marketer's red arc logo as a metaphoric bridge.
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Unlike Fallon's touchy-feely "Live richly" effort, the new theme is a more practical-sounding "Let's get it done." The push, utilizing print, TV and online media, centers on the company's red arc symbol as a "bridge to your financial success," said Lisa Caputo, chief marketing and community relations officer, Citi global consumer group. "People want a financial services institution who would work with them. Not for them, not tell them what to do, but work with them to help them achieve their financial goals."

Unified theme, unified campaign
To that end, print ads in 75 magazines and most newspapers will show how the arc links a little boy to his college dreams; a house to an addition; a designer to her own company; and consumers' dreams to their realities. The push includes online banner advertising and TV spots with similar scenarios as the print, narrated by Forrest Whittaker.

Citi's push kicked off in Australia and, appropriately, follows the arc of the sun across the globe through 10 markets including China, Russia, India and Brazil. In the U.S., the effort was hard to miss, introduced May 6 with a roadblock of 60-second spots at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on national broadcast.

With the campaign, the financial-services company is trying to present a unified front for its services -- from personal checking to business accounts to Smith Barney financial consulting -- for the first time since its founding in 1812 as the City Bank of New York. Over the past 18 months, the marketer has parted its red umbrella logo and become known simply as Citi under the simple red arc.

"We are one Citi," said Ajay Banga, chairman-CEO, Citi global consumer group-international. "The advertising is clearly trying to get people to feel we are their partner and that we have the resources to be their partner and to help them get it done."

Cross-selling services
Mr. Banga and Ms. Caputo, however, feel that cross-selling their services is the secret to driving home the unified message.

"Starting right now in Boston and Philadelphia, Smith Barney financial consultants are sitting in our bank branches," said Mr. Banga. "That's how you bring together a place that consumers come to for their checking and their savings, and their wealth management. Smith Barney branches will sell Citibank mortgages and one-third of our corporate banking companies will be offer the 'Bank at Work' program to their employees for personal checking."
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