My kids and I play a game when the ads come on – who can most quickly identify the advertiser? Generally, we can get most ads within the first 5 seconds. I have an unfair advantage as I get to research ads, but I still get beaten by the kids as they have the advantage of watching the pre-roll YouTube videos all day.....they are supposedly home 'schooling'!.
We were playing on Sunday night during an ad break. The new CBA ad came on….”hmmmmm” we said. “Maybe an insurance company? Or a superannuation? Maybe Car repairs….no, we’ll have to wait until the end frame…..oh, still no branding just a yellow diamond?”.
In this very bold and confident move, CBA with M&C Saatchi has launched a new logo (an all-yellow brand logo) without further branding. We now just see the yellow diamond.
Commonwealth Bank said that this is the first time in thirty years that the logo has been refreshed and it is part of a larger brand identity change and strategic transformation. “It aims to be a symbol of optimism for the future”.
The ad is not completely devoid of brand cues – but you have to look closely. There is a yellow bathing suit, a long-range shot of a bank and the word ‘Can’ . But that got me thinking, is that enough? Will people get it?
Luma has evaluated almost 9000 ads and from this, we have conducted a lot of analysis on what works with branding. Having clear branding is a combination of the mechanics (logo, timing, size on screen, time on screen, distinctive brand assets, integration etc.) combined with a bit of magic (synergy across the branding and the creative elements).
Generally, the ads which have the strongest branding are those where the brand is the hero of the story, central to the message and the overall creative construct. When the brand just appears at the end of the ad, it is difficult for people to recall….especially as people have often tuned out before the ad finishes.
So, we decided to research the new CBA ad to understand whether people got the brand link. Overall after watching the ad twice, in full, with no distractions, 70% linked the ad to CBA – not terrible (considering there is no brand name) but equally not great (really 100%, or at least 95% should be able to watch the ad and make out the branding).
This means there’s obviously some strength in the CBA brand assets. In a case study we ran last year, we found that 97% of people could identify the old yellow and black CBA logo, which also had a uniqueness score of 98% (i.e. 98% think of CommBank, with no competitors elicited). This is a really strong result. The colour yellow is also working strongly for CBA, with 74% fame and 85% uniqueness. But why mess with the logo when it is working so well for the brand? And why not help people build new memory structures for the new logo and link it to the brand name?
CBA said the brand update “came as a result of working to put the needs of our customers front and centre” and is part of the work the team is doing to reinvent the organization around a new strategy and values post the Royal Commission. It is just the fourth distinct logo the company has used in its 110 year history. Still, it is a bold and interesting strategy.
While CBA has strong brand assets, the ad itself didn’t deliver them clearly – especially in their new format and creative look and feel. They are missing the mechanics and the magic. I wonder whether that will impact the salience of the brand in the longer term if they continue with this approach.
Anyway, it makes me feel a bit better to know that my kids and I were not the only ones unsure of the brand. Without any context at the beginning of the ad, or a brand mention, many others were left guessing who this yellow diamond belongs to.
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