The UK’s original ethical bank.
The Co-operative Bank is the UK’s original ethical bank with a long history of category-challenging initiatives and firsts that have set it apart.
But in 2021 something changed, as The Co-operative Bank was matched by Barclays on the ‘ethical bank’ measure for the first time ever.
This alarm bell confirmed the need for the bank to re-invest in the brand, after years of little or no brand support, and to reassert itself as the UK’s original ethical bank.
Finding a genuine point of competitive difference was key if we were to deliver a campaign that had cut through on a modest spend compared to the category giants. From The Co-operative Bank’s own Ethical Poll, we saw that fighting climate change was the first-choice concern of both its customers and staff.
Thanks to its long-held commitment to sustainability, the bank could also stand by the claim that it had not invested in fossil fuel production for over 20 years. By contrast, other UK high street banks had pledged to stop their fossil fuel funding, yet were continuing to invest billions in the industry.
Our own research found that 70% of UK adults don’t know where their bank invests their money, so we saw an opportunity to speak to people’s concerns about climate change in an eye-opening and original way.
Our ‘Withdraw From This’ campaign put the viewer on the spot with a simple, direct question: “Do you know where your bank invests your money?”
The campaign ran across TV, VOD, radio, OOH and social, marking the first brand activity for The Co-operative Bank in over three years. We focused on the most everyday of banking interactions – the cashpoint – and used state-of-the-art projection mapping techniques to reveal the deeply disturbing activities that your bank account could be funding, from coal-fired power stations, to logging in the Amazon.
Outdoor takeovers of commuter hubs made the campaign utterly unmissable, and we also used engaging influencers such as Dr George to tell our story on social channels and build a direct and authentic dialogue with consumers.
We demonstrated that the campaign’s ethical narrative was able to move key business metrics, as a comparison of pre- and post-campaign 6-week averages revealed a 10.8% uplift in web visits to The Co-operative Bank and a 33% rise in Current Account applications.
In SME Business banking, the impact was even more marked, with a 23.6% uplift in web visits and a 143% increase in visits to the promoted Business Current Account pages.
At a brand reputation level, The Co-operative Bank regained its rightful position as the most ethical high street bank, with a 7-percentage point gap over the bank in second place.
We had a much bigger societal impact too, as we put a spotlight on the issue of carbon funding and the role of brands and consumers in fuelling climate change through the banking system.
Regained position as most ethical high street bank
Rise in Current Account Applications
Uplift in Web Visits to The Co-operative Bank