Banking Dilemmas Unfold Like Action Flicks in New TD Bank Ads

Robust Push Channels Films Like 'Gone in Sixty Seconds,' 'Sharknado'

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Hostage scenarios, high-speed stunts and covert surveillance are the focus of TD Bank's latest ad series, in which banking tales unfold like summer blockbusters.

The three 30-second spots depict customers' movie-star alter egos acting out everyday banking needs, like depositing checks and monitoring purchases, to show how TD Bank's special features can make those tasks easier.

"We're a disruptive brand that approaches the spirit of banking in a different way with tangibly different proof points," said Chief Marketing Officer Vinoo Vijay. "We keep stretching ourselves creatively, and stretching our teammates creatively so that we can continue to distinguish ourselves in this competitive landscape. Our employees are passionate about delivering better experiences to our customers and we as a company back that up."

The spots are part of a push called "Bank Human 3.0" -- rolling out this week -- that builds on an earlier brand initiative called "Bank Human, Again." The light-hearted effort, which broke in 2013, illustrated common banking frustrations, like having to wait seven to 10 business days for a replacement debit card or not being able to get a real-live bank representative on the phone, to show that TD Bank is more "human."

The latest leg of the push, directed by Tool of North America's Benji Weinstein, takes that a step further, making customers the protagonists of the stories and TD Bank the vehicle for their success.

In one ad, called "Closed in Sixty Seconds," a small-business owner races to deposit a check before the bank closes, after literally being tied up with a customer. He makes it there on time thanks to TD Bank's extended branch hours. A woman hides from torrential rains and remotely deposits a check in another ad called "Floodnado." And in "Cash Me If You Can," a woman remotely monitors her partner's spending to keep the couple from going over budget. That ad is the bank's first broadcast spot featuring a same-sex couple. It follows Wells Fargo's moving TV spot starring a real-life lesbian couple, which broke earlier this year.

The three spots will run in theaters and during action-based programs on TV.

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Like the rest of the campaign, the spots balance TD Bank's popular branch features, like long hours, with newer digital offerings such as mobile banking. "Digital efficiency at the expense of the human element is not what consumers are looking for," said Mr. Vijay. "We try to live by and deliver on that sweet spot."

The robust effort, which features social, digital, experiential, outdoor and branded content, includes pre-roll ads on Hulu where viewers can choose between a kitten chatting up the bank's $100 minimum checking accounts, a kung-fu dub on instant-issue debit cards, and a zombie who is taking out a mortgage.

"What we're trying to do is play to each mediums' strength," said Mr. Vijay. "We're almost allowing the medium to express itself fully and putting our message in that context."

The effort also includes digital billboards in Philadelphia, New York and Boston that display personal messages tweeted by customers, like "Never back down, Nick," and "Tip of the hat, Matt." The bank recently launched the second phase of its social push "TD Thanks You," which took customers on a trip down memory lane. The online video went viral after its release last week.

"Our bank is about creating these special connections with our customers, these more human connections, so our advertising should be able to do that as well," said Mr. Vinjay.

The initiative touches more media channels than the previous two phases of the campaign, but the budget is comparable, Mr. Vijay said, declining to reveal the spend. TD Bank Group spent $191 million on domestic advertising in 2014, up from nearly $176 million a year earlier, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

"Bank Human 3.0" was created by Philadelphia-based shop Tierney, while Diamond Integrated handled the social push including the "TD Thanks You" effort.

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