Campaign Spotlight: NatWest ‘Money Bite' / Green Rock
Back when Howard from the Halifax was singing ‘Extra, Extra’ to the tune of Tom Jones’ ‘Sexbomb’ on our TV screens in 2000, not many would have imagined that a few years later banks would be advertising via (almost) full-length television programmes instead; least of all ones that aren’t even broadcast on television but distributed exclusively online. While we’ve probably all got to the point now where we take the internet for granted, it may still strike some as slightly odd that a bank would make an 18-minute entertainment programme. But that’s exactly what NatWest has done, the latest brand to set sail on its maiden voyage into the fashionable waters of long-form video content. This week’s campaign spotlight looks at the first episode of ‘Money Bite’, which aims to foster a deeper connection with the brand than a conventional ad campaign.
Presented by well-known television presenters Angellica Bell and Gethin Jones in front of a studio audience, ‘Money Bite’ has been planned and executed to feel exactly like a normal TV show in the same vein as The One Show and focusing on money issues. Throughout the 18-minute run the film cuts to a segment exploring what happens when the children of a real family take control of the family budget for a week, as well as various other money-centric features and studio interviews with businesspeople.
In terms of the film’s content, there are plenty of positives. In one segment, the film focuses on Rosie Gindlay, founder of Miss Macaroon, a macaron-making start-up. It’s a detailed and engaging spotlight on how a successful small business got off the ground, and bringing in former Great British Menu chef and Michelin-starred Glynn Purnell into the studio to talk about Rosie, who he once employed, lends an extra dash of show-biz to the content. Another segment will no doubt be of interest to millennials looking to get on the property ladder: Five Great Apps for First Time Buyers.
There’s plenty of informative and engaging content relevant to the NatWest brand and to its customers which is afforded by the longer format. That’s not to say it’s perfect – despite being designed to feel like a TV show the studio content never quite feels authentic, and it could be argued that its 18-minute length places the video in a content no-man’s land; too long for an ad and too short for a TV show. Aspirational brands such as Patagonia that have had success with long-form video often do so via documentary-style films. It remains to be seen whether consumers will voluntarily watch this type of content from a bank, or even whether the One-Show-style format is one many people choose to consume online in the first place.
Despite these possible drawbacks, it’s a highly interesting piece of work from Natwest and one which underscores the growing adoption of long-form video by brands. The video has had less than 2,000 views on YouTube since being uploaded in November 23, but it is across Natwest’s social channels that the series’ success will really be measured. The first episode has so far been viewed over 8,000 times on Facebook, and if NatWest can develop this audience over future episodes it may well prove a valuable addition to their marketing strategy. Either way, as Facebook and Twitter continue to invest in video it seems a safe bet to expect more of this type of content from brands in 2017.