Global banking firm UBS is reintroducing itself to the world this week with a digital-heavy brand refresh and ad campaign that plays on life's common questions.
The bank, which just posted its highest quarterly profit in five years, hopes the effort will usher the brand into the digital age and show off UBS's client-driven investment philosophy.
"It is coming back strong after the financial crisis, after a change of strategy, coming out, being confident but obviously also very humble about who we are," said Johan Jervoe, group chief marketing officer. "That all leads into the core brand promise: We embrace our clients goals as our own."
To get that message across for each of its business units, UBS is scrapping the tagline, "We will not rest," which was introduced after the financial crisis and highlighting the campaign message: "For some of life's questions, our clients are not alone. Together we can find an answer."
A 90-second launch spot, breaking Sept. 1, takes a page from Apple's playbook by using simple black text on a white background set to emotional music. Questions spanning a lifetime of milestones with obvious and not-so-obvious financial implications, such as, "Is Santa real?"; "Will you marry me?"; and "Am I a good father?" are asked to the song "Hero" by Family of the Year, which was also featured in the film "Boyhood."
The text-only approach, which speaks in the voice of the client, was designed to stir images in customers' minds. "It's what happens in the mind's eye that actually makes it incredibly emotional for a lot of people," said Hubertus Kuelps, group head communications and branding for UBS, after testing the campaign. It's meant to make clients feel like the bank understands them, and can help them find the right answers.
Text also allows UBS to easily customize the spot to react to major world events, such as the recent free-fall in Chinese stocks, which rebounded before tumbling again on Monday. Mr. Kuelps said the company plans to create custom videos for events like this, but has currently only tailored the creative for particular client groups, such as corporate institutions.
The new effort, from font selection to imagery and tone, is mobile, digital and social-ready -- a shift for the bank, which last updated its brand before the days of Facebook and Twitter. It is 70% digital to align with the way UBS's target audience -- wealth managers, investment bankers and corporate institutions -- consume media today. The campaign also includes TV, print and out-of-home, as well as a classic media mix in Switzerland, where UBS serves as a universal bank.
Annie Leibovitz shot the images for the banner, out-of-home and print ads, using real people who she felt exemplify UBS's client base and relate to the questions being asked. For example, Peter Thum, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and father, is the subject in the ad that asks, "Am I a good father?"