The Citigroup unit captured the zeitgeist of the period after the stock market bubble burst with its "Live richly" campaign. The tagline on its TV commercials, "There's more to life than money. There's a bank that understands that," was practically sacrilege on Wall Street, but it struck a chord.
The campaign has shown legs, says Mr. Jakeman, director of global advertising. Since the advertising began in early 2001, it has remained relevant during the disillusionment sparked by the recession, the Sept. 11 attacks and a raft of corporate scandals.
"Some of that was serendipitous. The market attitudes moved in our favor," says Anne MacDonald, head of global marketing at Citigroup's consumer division. But the campaign was also built upon a "human truth," Mr. Jakeman adds.
It started with a "significant" piece of market research as Citibank tried to find a new direction for the brand, Ms. MacDonald says. The research found that while much of late 1990s advertising portrayed wealth as an end in itself, consumers really viewed money as a means to enrich their lives.
That knowledge became part of the brief when Citibank put its account in review, eventually moving it from WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, to Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis. The Fallon effort made fun of convention with print ads that urged consumers to "Hoard friends. Save money." One TV spot showed a child spinning in the arms of his father and the words "One sure way to get rich quick: count your blessings."