Abbey National is launching a pair of ‘blockbuster’ commercials aimed at
putting the company at the front of consumers’ minds in the congested
Pioneering camera techniques and sophisticated post-production processes
have been used on the 60-second films, which break nationally this
Saturday as a curtain-raiser to next month’s merger of the Abbey
National and the National and Provincial building society.
Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper devised the films, which are designed to show the
scope and stature of the merged organisation. The ads follow the trend,
set by the Halifax, for TV ‘spectaculars’ from financial institutions.
The new films are designed to give Abbey National a modern and down-to-
earth image and show that it combines the best features of a building
society and a bank.
Their appearance comes at a time when financial institutions are
struggling to find points of difference, as rivals respond rapidly to
innovation by launching ‘copycat’ products. At the same time, the Abbey
has had to endure public criticism that it has thrown overboard
traditional building society values in pursuit of profits for
Although one film promotes pensions and the other banking services, they
reflect the Abbey’s shift away from advertising individual products and
into a corporate campaign under the familiar ‘Abbeyness’ theme.
The commercials were shot by the pop promo director, Mike Lipscombe.
Each commercial consists of a long tracking shot as the camera goes
through a series of spirals and pirouettes, connecting a variety of
vignettes to show how Abbey National supports a range of people at
different stages of their lives.
Written by Nick Bird, art directed by Lee Smith and produced by Stark
Films, the commercials involved eight weeks of post-production in which
12 versions of the same shot were laid on top of each other to produce a
distinctive visual style.
Ambrose McGinn, Abbey National’s marketing director, said: ‘Abbeyness is
shorthand for the combination of different properties and attributes
that make up the Abbey National brand.’