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Marketing Updated: 25 Aug 2020

The making of BBVA USA’s new ad campaign: “Real people are behind what we do”

A new ad campaign by BBVA USA is sweeping through select markets within the bank’s footprint, in both digital and traditional broadcast channels.

Launched on August 10, the new campaign entitled, “Your Bank for…,” is giving retail and small business consumers alike a peek into what BBVA can offer them as they recover from the pandemic and look forward to future milestones.

The campaign includes two advertisements, both 15 seconds in length, featuring life events for businesses and consumers and a voice-over that promotes BBVA as “your bank for life’s opportunities.” One advertisement targets a small business audience, and one is for a consumer-focused audience.

The advertisements have been airing in Houston, Dallas and Birmingham, Ala. in all channels, while they have been airing in digital and social channels in Phoenix, Austin, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Fla., and Laredo, Texas.

With the ad campaign in full swing, BBVA USA Chief Marketing Officer Enrique Cornish Stanton gave his thoughts on what went into the initiative, the process, the logistics, the strategy and the message he hopes consumers and businesses take away from it all.

How long were you and your team working on this project?

BBVA USA as a brand is fairly new because we did the brand change last year. So our unaided awareness is low. There’s a substantial gap. So in other words, we can translate that into people not knowing that BBVA is a bank. This happens across all our footprint. For example, if people go by BBVA Stadium, they might recognize the logo and the name, but they might not know we’re a full-service bank. This is an area we can improve. Also, having continuity in terms of communication is really important. So we launched a “Financial Freedom” campaign at the end of last year to continue to build our brand. However, around the end of February, because of the pandemic, we had to stop that campaign. It didn’t make any sense in the context of the situation.

So we launched the #IStayAtHome campaign, supporting an initiative that encouraged people to stay safe. Then we evolved that to encourage people to stay safe as we began to carefully reopen our branches. Then around that time, we started thinking about the next steps we needed to take. It’s fair to say, given all of that, that we started working on the current campaign about three months ago.

How did the idea of this campaign come about? What was the story behind it?

Some of the things we thought about included the idea of whether or not we should use the previous “Financial Freedom” campaign. We had only used that campaign for only a few months. When we considered this, the context still just didn’t feel right. We started to consider other aspects - for example, we thought: “What sectors, or what groups are suffering right now?” So of course, you have the economic aspect, and then you have the more individual aspect. Taking that, then considering that some people may not know that BBVA is a bank, it made sense to think about something that can tie those two ideas together. So, as we were preparing the campaign, the whole team - such as Mark Klein and Jeff Sheiring who were so key in this project - we started asking questions around what was on the mind of consumers.

At the same time, though, we knew we weren’t the only brand who was going to be talking about “going back to normal”. It’s difficult to differentiate yourself considering that. So we had to make sure we kicked this off right with our agency who assisted in our efforts. We had a few meetings around the strategy, and then we had a second round of focused feedback. Then the final meeting included three final ideas for consideration. Some options were very interesting, and in marketing, you want to sometimes consider options that I guess you could say are “daring”. However, everything is a balance, and you need to consider the whole context. We ended up choosing “Your Bank for…”. It’s highly flexible. It’s a concept that can easily be tied into any of our services. Then, you can also tie more emotional aspects to the campaign. You can tie it to a new beginning, a mortgage, when you’re having a baby, and other important milestones in your life. Some people might say that “Your Bank for…” can be used by many other banks. The important thing, though, is that it makes sense for us, what we want to accomplish and where we are. It was a very informed decision.

How important was it for you to include this milestone aspect, especially considering the ongoing pandemic?

It was very important to take that into account within the context of what is happening now. We were mindful of that - it’s been six months since this all started. For sure, we’re going to be practicing social distancing for a long time. If you take a look at one of the ads, you can see we were mindful of not showing many people during the wedding shot, and that we showed our branch employees in their masks and behind plexiglass. Then you have the graduation scene, where it’s being displayed on a virtual platform - much like my kid’s elementary graduation.

We have to adapt. That’s what we wanted to show. We’re practicing social distancing, yes, but life has to go on for many reasons. The economic aspect of this is also tremendously important, from a society and job standpoint. BBVA has supported on all of those fronts - actively. That’s why we also included SMEs in this campaign. I think our ad for SMEs has a nice balance. You’re looking at real people, restaurants, people carefully going back to work, etc. Showing these realities was tremendously important.

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What goes into making these video advertisements? What are the logistics?

Given the situation, we did have to use stock footage - but we do have original shooting in the mix as well. It was a combination given the limitations we had due to the pandemic. Our digital design team helped us shoot the branch scenes. We did those shots in Dallas, and our branch team there was super collaborative and mindful in helping us decide where to actually do the shots. The employees you see in those branches are real employees! We were looking for that reality aspect. That’s what people are looking for. Hopefully this campaign will help us continue to build our brand, what we are, and our values, because it’s all about all the work and service we are providing. So the fact that we were able to get real branch employees in those scenes, that was a great addition to the campaign.

Why did you select the markets you selected for airing?

I mentioned continuity before. We are present in many different markets across our footprint. However, Houston, Dallas and Birmingham are the markets across our footprint where we have the largest presence. All of our cities and regions are extremely important to us, of course.  Hopefully in the near future, we’ll start including other cities.

Going back to continuity - there’s a marketing term called “ad stocks”. We’re building our media plan to build our reach to more than 75% with a +3 frequency, meaning that during a month, a majority of people in those markets will either see or hear our ad three times. However, if we include TV and radio with other cities beyond what we’re already doing, the continuity won’t be as long as we want in order to achieve our objectives. It’s like a lifecycle. If we have a campaign now, and then we’re no longer on air for the remainder of the year, our awareness starts to drop.

What do you want customers to feel when they see these commercials?

I have a big list. (laughs)

I’ll keep it short, though. First, I want to get people to see that we’re not only a bank, but a full service bank. Also, that we’re a great option for what people want to accomplish in life. Finally, I want customers to know that real people are behind what we do. If we can evoke those three thoughts, I think we’ll be on the right track.