THE BUYER - Eleanor Trickett
Our Direct editor, Eleanor Trickett, continues the series in which
Campaign staff test a product or service against the promise of its
This month, the pound signs flash in her eyes as she is tempted by the
widespread advertising - and 8 per cent interest rate - of the
Prudential’s new Egg product.
It all started with the press ads for Egg. ’Have you seen the ads with
the fake Post-it note?’, asked my colleague. ’They’re brilliant - I’ve
applied for an account, so I can do the Shopping piece!’
Not so fast mate. I too saw the ad and sent off to join the club. And
anyway, it’s my section, so I’m the one writing about it.
By the time I phoned the number on the press ad, I felt as if Egg had
become a sort of friend. I had already called to hear a testimonial from
a real punter who, apparently, hadn’t been paid to do it. So when I
dialled the application number, I was a bit disappointed to hear a
recorded message instead of a real person. Never mind, the message was
pleasantly smug about the unexpected number of enquiries. I left my
Three days later, my application pack arrived (addressed to ’Eleanor
Triket’ - bloody answerphones). I knew what it was immediately, as the
branding on the envelope was entirely consistent with the ads.
I wasn’t too frightened by the contents of the pack, but one enclosure
did suprise me; a hastily printed note on cheap yellow paper saying: ’Do
not send any money now,’ explaining that the success of the launch had
caught them unawares.
The other drag was having to dig out a bank statement or bill to prove
that I am a real person. There always seems to be a stumbling block that
makes it necessary for me carry dog-eared forms around for weeks before
sending them off.
Eventually, I sent it. I’m still waiting. I don’t mind - I know it will
be worth it and I have a delightful image of all the real people
bustling around the Egg office, getting things done. It just goes to
show how important a great brand image and advertising campaign is in
keeping punters happy.
THE SELLER - Tony Williams
Egg is a savings account created by the Prudential that launched in
October. Tony Williams, its communications director, has a long history
in banking, starting off as a cashier at the TSB in 1967 and ending up
at Egg earlier this year. Here he responds to Eleanor’s comments.
Thanks very much for expressing an interest in Egg. I hope that we
haven’t caused any permanent damage between you and your colleague!
Our advertising aims to communicate the brand values and highlight Egg’s
difference in the financial services market. The creative revolves
around individuals, as we offer products and services individually
tailored to the needs of each customer. Using real recorded
testimonials, we are further able to reflect the honesty and
transparency of Egg.
In our first month, we have received 335,000 enquiries via the telephone
and internet. As a result, the call centre has been stretched. We
quickly addressed this by taking on 250 extra staff. Customers are
normally dealt with by a real person, pro-viding a personal service and
involving them in the whole brand experience, but this is not always
As a result you had to leave a recorded message and the information
provided led to an incorrectly spelt name on the letter you received. We
apologise for this and will make sure your details are corrected.
The yellow slip in your pack was necessary due to the delays caused by
the interest. We felt it better to respond quickly and be honest and let
customers know rather than mislead them. We are now on course to
eliminate delays, and will maintain our interest rates to the end of
1998 to give customers the rates they applied for.
Proof of address is a standard condition in any such application, but
it’s required once and once only.
It is of fundamental importance for us to maintain and create an
impactful brand experience. I hope you enjoy your savings account,
created by Egg for you.