Santander is donating the airtime for its latest campaign to a fictional rival, Antandec, a trendy new bank founded by the TV duo of (almost) the same names.
Created by Engine, the 90-second film starts with Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly arriving at their new headquarters on Antandec-branded Transport for London bikes, before explaining the basis of the company name, which, we are told, comes from their "core values": ambition, networking, tenacity, determination, empathy and communication.
Ant & Dec go on to detail their unconventional business ideas, such as "Netbricks", an initiative that sends aspiring homeowners one brick in the post every day for £9.99 a month, thus allowing them to eventually build their own home.
Santander said the Ant & Dec deal, which was facilitated by YMU Group, would be a multi-year partnership and follows a comprehensive review of its marketing strategy, including extensive research into customer needs.
Keith Moor, chief marketing officer at Santander, said: "We are thrilled to have Ant & Dec on board at this very exciting time for Santander UK. The concept behind the campaign and its speed to market is testament both to the power of a great idea and the synergy between the duo and the bank."
The work was created by Doug Redfern, Joe Roberts, Hayden Rogers and Anne-Marie Burrows, and directed by Declan Lowney through Another Film Company. The media agency is Carat. TV advertising will be supported by cinema, radio, out-of-home, print, social and digital display activity, as well as a dedicated microsite.
Billy Faithfull, chief creative officer at Engine, said: "In the search for a little magic, you have to give every idea a chance to shine. Even the silliest of ideas should be taken seriously. So, when it’s thrown into conversation that Ant & Dec sounds a bit like Santander, you can’t ignore that – it’s an absolute gift.
"It was one of those ideas that you keep parking for good reason, but keeps coming back, more powerful than before. And the more we let it back in the room, the more funny, famous and memorable it became. Nothing else stood a chance."
Ant & Dec were dropped by Suzuki as its brand ambassadors in March 2018, after McPartlin was charged with drink-driving. He later pleaded guilty and was fined £86,000. Suzuki, meanwhile, turned to Take That for its next partnership with ITV.
Ant & Dec’s voices have recently been heard at Marks & Spencer self-service tills as part of the retailer’s sponsorship of Britain’s Got Talent. They have also appeared in an epsiode of YouTube series What's New At M&S Food.