You can bank on creative diversity

The diversity of creativity in newspaper advertising offers a unique opportunity to sell a message. Our ADvance creative benchmark report looks at how UBank used humour and Westpac Bank deployed an earnest approach to its $100 million Corporate Social Responsibility program – and both got great results. Adrian Fernandes reports.

CB_UBANKvWESTPAC_AdsDifferent approaches to advertising creative provides readers with a great diversity of content in their newspapers.

Two campaigns – by UBank and Westpac Bank – illustrate how two competitors can take completely different approaches but achieve outstanding results for their businesses.

The UBank creative, devised by  ad agency The Monkeys,  offered readers a smile to launch a new home loan product, while Westpac’s agency DDB presented an earnest, professional approach to its responsibilities as a corporate citizen.

UBank’s humorous advertisement boosted its “Brand Equity” because it achieved differentiation from others in the banking sector, according to the research panel.

It increased “Brand Affinity”, encouraging readers to reappraise UBank and achieved a healthy “Call to Action” response, as readers were encouraged to remember the brand.

For Westpac, print was a major contributor for its recent Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) campaign, which featured the donation of $100 million to fund education scholarships.

The ad differentiated Westpac from competitors, heightening “Brand Affinity” and stimulating “Reappraisal” by addressing the important issue of helping talented but under-privileged young Australians.

Print Offers Readers Time

Marketers have long appreciated print newspapers are the perfect medium for financial services advertising.

Banks use print advertising because they provide the space and give readers time to explain complex products. Additionally, journalism dedicated to finance reportage provides a relevant editorial environment, ensuring readers are in the right frame of mind to take in the information.

This presents a challenge for banks’ creative agencies – how to cut through the noise and make their message truly memorable.

Westpac Campaign

Westpac used a photographic visual to evoke the spirit of Fred Hollows while advertising their $100 million funding of scholarships.

Cause-related marketing is growing in popularity as large companies build philanthropic relationships and give back to the community. But there is more to it than that, as companies use such activities to attract customers who might be attracted by shared values and beliefs.

UBank Initiative

A product-focused ad, it highlights the savings offered by their home loan product in a light-hearted way. The challenge with this type of bank ad is presenting just the right amount of product information – namely the benefits and legal requirements – without falling into the trap of information-overload.

Brand Equity Impact

Both banks were successful in driving positive attitudes toward their brands.


UBank’s light-hearted approach and attractive offer combined to positively impact Brand Equity. More than two in five (43%) felt the ad made the UBank brand different from the rest, a score significantly better than the newspaper ad average (25%).

Some 38 per cent of respondents felt the ad improved familiarity and understanding of the UBank brand, which is 10 per cent more than the average (28%) for newspaper advertising.

Westpac’s campaign also had a positive impact on brand equity. The creative had a strong impact on distinguishing it from competitors, with 38 per cent of respondents saying the ad made the brand seem different, significantly above the newspaper ad average.


Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.


Despite the different approach to print advertising by Westpac and UBank, both had similar positive impacts in driving Affinity and encouraging Reappraisal. Both ads scored significantly better than the newspaper ad average on both these measures.

UBank had a significant impact on Brand Affinity with one in five (19%) respondents agreeing the ad gave them a good feeling about UBank. The ad also had a positive impact on Reappraisal as it encouraged 19% of respondents to think differently about the brand.

Some 12 per cent of respondents were also encouraged to look for more information on the product, a positive score considering the specific nature and the relevance of the ad to such relatively small subset of the population.

Westpac scored strongly on public agenda with 30 per cent of respondents agreeing its ad raised important social issues, significantly above the newspaper average.

The ad had a positive impact on Brand Affinity with 22 per cent of respondents agreeing it gave them a good feeling about Westpac – 13 per cent more than the newspaper ad average.

The ad also encouraged reappraisal (17% vs. 9% newspaper ad average).


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


UBank was most successful in terms of encouraging respondents to remember the brand or product advertised (21%), which is significantly higher than the newspaper ad average (13%). Some 16 per cent of respondents also said they would visit the bank’s website.

Westpac had no “Call to Action” component in its CSR campaign, so predictably it did not score well on this metric. Some 15 per cent of respondents said they would recall the ad, and a further 10 per cent said they would look for more information on the scholarship program online.

Diagnostics Map

Despite the different approaches to these ads, they received similar scores across Creative Diagnostic metrics.


The UBank creative scored in line with the ADvance newspaper ad averages.

One in four (27%) respondents found the creative eye-catching. Positive sentiments towards the clever and humorous visuals were a feature for respondents. Some 28 per cent of them agreed the ad succeeded in highlighting an important feature – the savings available to UBank mortgage holders. Only one in five (21%) felt the ad made it easy to see what was on offer – 11 per cent below the newspaper ad average.

Readers felt strongly the ad needed to be easier to read. As one respondent said “Good idea but colours are too dark and the background too busy. It was hard to read the small print.”

The Westpac creative also scored in line with newspaper ad averages in terms of standing out from the crowd (28%). One respondent commented “They have used an image that is aspirational and someone who people respect rather than stupid cartoon-style ads. It makes you stop and think about what you can achieve.”

Though the association with The Fred Hollows Foundation was perceived as a positive by some, others were confused by the central message of the ad – was it for the The Fred Hollows Institute, or Westpac.

Of course, it was for Westpac. But in bringing the foundation into the campaign, some readers appear to have got the focus confused.

 Quote, Unquote

Readers on Westpac

The ad was interesting. It grabbed your attention straight away. It was easy to read.

I feel good about Westpac having a well-funded scholarship program, but I didn’t find the ad appealing – too dark instead of happy students.

It makes you stop and think about what you can achieve

Slightly misleading, as I thought there was some sort of collaboration between the Fred Hollows Foundation and Westpac not just trading his name to publicise a scholarship.

Leaves an impression with the photography – quite remarkable.

Readers on UBank

It is interesting and suggests a better mortgage deal than I would have expected.

It’s a clever ad that draws attention with a bit of humour while highlighting a very important aspect of the product.

I don’t like the colours, or the picture. Feels dark and negative.

Good idea but colours are too dark and the background too busy. Hard to read.

Delivers the message visually. Makes a positive impression which leads you to at least reading or finding out more about what’s on offer.

For more information on the ADvance: Creative Benchmarking methodology, click here.



Leave a comment