’We never thought we would work with an agency that looks like a
supermarket,’ Mark Robinson, group marketing director of HFC Bank,
’You know, when we set up this agency we said we would never work with a
bank,’ said Mother’s Stef Calcraft when told that the agency had won the
brief to spearhead the pounds 10 million Marbles launch campaign. From
this unconventional starting point the client-agency relationship
It is easy to see how this collaboration could initially appear
After contacting the AAR for pitch recommendations, Robinson was the
first to admit that Mother was ’a left-field choice’ for a bank.
But the agency’s understanding of the brief won HFC over in no time.
The concept of Marbles had been initiated by Wolff Olins and Robinson
was clearly impressed with the company’s work and with Mother’s
subsequent development of the brief.
The consumer-friendly TV and press ads, which break this week, are
designed to promote Marbles as a non-intimidating experience.
Marbles has been developed to tackle consumers’ everyday concerns about
making purchases on the internet, and to entice users into the world of
online banking and shopping at their own pace.
It is a simple business strategy which relies on an increase in consumer
confidence to help the brand grow. But Robinson is anxious not to
overwhelm his customers with technology just yet: ’We will provide
people with a number of functions that are useful, but we don’t want to
blind them straight away.’ He praises the agency for its work in
communicating Marbles as a brand that will walk the user through the
online experience until they feel confident enough to delve deeper on
As the brains behind the launch of Goldfish, which he describes as ’a
watershed in financial services brands’, Robinson has learned that there
are a large number of customers who are ready for a financial brand that
operates at an emotional, as well as a rational, level. He’s counting on
Marbles’ colloquial and chatty language to raise the brand above its
Robinson has nothing but praise for the agency, enthusing about the lack
of egos and quality of work put in during the time they were
’They’ve done an absolutely terrific job,’ he says, clearly proud of the
And the name? Marbles was conceived from the traditional image of
beautiful, individual objects which are often collectable items, and
tradeable in their own right. ’They resemble their own currency, and
everyone has a different visual idea of what a marble looks like,’
explains Robinson. Including his eight-year-old son, who is still
astonished that his daddy goes off to work and plays with toys all day
for a living.