Lloyds Forever Forwards: Flogging a dead black horse

lloyds1High street banks, they’re a bit like wives, husbands and family, you can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em, although some seem to reckon they are more essential than others.

Take Lloyds for example, whose new campaign by Adam & Eve DDB insists on telling all and sundry that the bank continues to be by the side of people and businesses, as it has done for over 250 years. (No doubt there are tens of thousands who would disagree, too.)

The 60-second TV ad was shot over the summer and is claimed to be a “celebration to the people and businesses of the UK that are always moving forward”, backed by outdoor, social and digital activity. (Quite how any of its customers, including Covid-struck business clients have been moving forward is anyone’s guess.)

Still, according to the blurb, “the opening shots show fishermen on their boats in an atmospheric morning light as the iconic Lloyds Bank black horse looks on as a reassuring symbol. The following scenes show the horse galloping alongside a steam train to the delight of a little girl and passing a group of cold water swimmers as they dive into a lake surrounded by lush green countryside”. Do you need a bucket yet?

Oh wait a minute, there’s more: “The overall sense of movement reflects the constant energy of all different kinds of individuals, while the black horse keeps up with them to represent comfort and support. The closing line clarifies the visual message: “By the side of a nation that never stands still. Lloyds Bank, by your side.” And if you believe that, you must believe in fairies, too…

Lloyds Banking Group marketing communications director Richard Warren enthuses: “The next chapter of our horse story, Forever Forwards, recognises and celebrates the resilience of British people and businesses we serve.
“The advert represents a diverse range of customers from all across the nation as they move forward, and above all reminds customers that we are by their side during these extraordinary times.”

Adam & Eve joint CEO Tammy Einav is equally upbeat: “In a world that’s always changing, the Lloyds Bank black horse represents both continuity and momentum. We wanted to make an optimistic ad about new beginnings, and use the brand’s famous icon to provide reassurance that Lloyds is always there for customers.” So there.

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Do we feel “reassured” that Lloyds is always here for us? Does the black horse give us “comfort and support”? Do we sense Lloyds is by our side “during these extraordinary times”?

Well, having been Lloyds’ customers for over 40 years, the answers to that lot are, in no particular order, no, not a chance and never.

You see, like most banks, they’re quite happy to slap you with their charges and even happier if you keep in the black, but once things get tough and your income dries up, they’re down on you like a ton of bricks.

Of course, we recognise that wouldn’t make for much of an ad but how about some reality for a change rather than flogging a dead black horse?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “by your side, my arse” 5 out of 10

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