Shifting Gears: Finance Advertising Trends

Changes in advertising used by financial services providers shows they’ve let go of the visuals chocked-full of conspicuous consumption & high-end wealth, and for good reason.




Finance & Females
The proverbial purse-strings of any given household are no doubt held by women. In the US especially, women are now frequently the primary breadwinners and decision-makers at home. Which makes sense. Gone are the stereotypical clichés. Contemporary women are depicted as empowered, relaxed, and balancing many roles. They’re top execs, friends, mothers, and partners. They can lead the charge at work and look after their loved ones, but they also take time for themselves. Effortless and natural, the finance industry is selling with a nod to celebrating the new female paradigm of modern-strength, style, and self-confidence.

Surprising Consumers With Artistry
Financial imagery has become a lot less stuffy. Bold, illustrative images are being used to communicate classic concepts in unexpected ways, helping campaigns stand out from the fray. Color-soaked images of natural wonders, oddball pet portraits, sweeping landscape shots that would look equally at home on a gallery wall as on a banking website – seem like unusual choices, yet they help change the perception that money talk has to be dull.

The New World of Wealth
Markets are still shaky, wallets can get thin fast, and the word “occupy” has a brand new connotation since the recession ended in 2008. Wealth and what it means to be comfortable is changing. Is it about being a home or is it reaching those milestones one celebrates between its walls? For Millennials, it’s not all about accumulating possessions anymore, but rather having new experiences. It’s less about the cars they drive and more about what they contribute as seen through messaging focused around living life with meaning, and pausing to truly appreciate the little, yet basics of fulfillment: security, health, relationships, personal achievements. Finance advertising has continued to feature simple things the public truly values – those moments and people that transcend any price.

Overall, financial service providers (banks & credit card companies) lost considerable consumer trust in recent years. Following the billions of reportedly made in overdraft fees by US banks many consumers struggled to know where their dollars were going. Despite legal action & half-hearted intervention by regulators, no legal-reform and numerous class action lawsuits it took years for financial institutions to start to ‘listen to customers needs’, ‘treating employees well’, as well as ‘having ethical business practices’. To consumers this is considered more important in rebuilding trust than ‘delivering consistent financial returns’ or the instant gratification of cash back rewards. Financial service brands are finally starting to supporting project that go beyond clever campaigns set-up for the long term profits, such as Bank of America’s recently launch Better Money Habits campaign. This demonstrates at least an attempt to help consumers reach their goals & act responsibly on behalf of local businesses, communities and consumers.

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