M&C unveils Bradford & Bingley ad

Bradford & Bingley this week returns to TV advertising in a

controversial attempt to decrease its dependence on its core savings and

lendings business.

The pounds 5 million campaign by M&C Saatchi compares Bradford &

Bingley's rivals with a men's outfitter selling a limited range of

identical clothes as it launches what it calls 'The MarketPlace at

Bradford & Bingley'.

The 40-second spot is in line with the strategy by the former building

society turned bank to differentiate itself from other mortgage


It aims to do this by developing its position as a distributor of other

companies' financial products through the Charcol mortgage brokerage and

its own branch-based independent financial advisors.

It follows a disappointing performance by Bradford & Bingley since

making its stock market debut last year.

Although it reported a full-year profit increase of 25 per cent to

pounds 231 million earlier this month, the figure was below City


Financial experts believe Bradford & Bingley's strategy is risky because

the broking model is largely untested and could be challenged by

possible regulatory changes.

The advertising underscores the new message by featuring a customer in a

clothes shop trying on a green suit, an orange shirt and a blue tie,

aided by an assistant wearing an identical outfit.

It quickly becomes evident that the shop only sells green suits, orange

shirts and blue ties. Despite the assistant's sycophantic admiration of

his customer's outfit, the man leaves without buying. The endline is:

'The MarketPlace at Bradford & Bingley. What's best for you, not


The ad, which is being supported by a press and radio initiative, was

written by Simon Dicketts, the M&C creative director, and art directed

by Pete Gatley.

It was directed by Trevor Melvin through Blink. Media buying is handled

by Partners PHD.