Skip to main content

Citi’s “Let’s get it done”—a pale imitation of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s “Make it happen” campaign*

I know I’m coming late to the party, but the new (May 2007) Citi brand campaign stinks; to me, “Let’s get it done” is a shameless copy of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s “Make it Happen” brand campaign (at the very least in message, if not in execution). Why did Citi drop the “Live richly” theme, developed by Fallon, which was doing so well? (Even if it was a bit controversial -- or because of the controversy -- see http://www.slate.com/id/2068683/#)

Creditcards.com reports that “Starting in January, Citi brought research from its rebranding effort to meetings with representatives from Fallon and Publicis, with the goal of creating a campaign that would be suitable for retail and credit card customers, major advertisers, and investment banking clients.” (http://www.creditcards.com/Citi-Launches-New-Brand-Ad-Campaign.php)

What does that mean? What research? The bank wasn’t happy with the results that its “Live richly” campaign was driving? It couldn't stand being high-level, high-concept, and idea-based?

What a waste…what a loss of a good brand.

Adpunch.org notes that the new campaign is supposed to connect with audiences’ financial aspirations: “The basic theme of the campaign is Citi’s outstanding portfolio of financial products and services drives its clients towards financial success. The advertising has been customized to appeal to different markets and cultures in a variety of languages.” (http://www.adpunch.org/entry/citi-group-lets-get-it-done/)

The Royal Bank of Scotland campaign is so much more effective than Citi’s effort: “At The Royal Bank of Scotland Group we believe actions speak louder than words.” (http://mediacentre.rbs.com/advertising/index.aspx) That’s it. Simple. The same message as Citi is trying to broadcast with the new campaign, but so much higher-level.

Publicis, which is responsible for the new campaign, shouldn't take all the blame, though. By October 2006, Fallon had already veered away from "Live Richly" with the "Very Rewarding" campaign "which features two eccentric East European-sounding characters, Roman and Victor showing the many ways they can earn Citi rewards points." (http://www.thirdwayblog.com/category/citi/)

As ThirdWay points out,

"By displacing rather than supplementing the 'Live Richly' campaign, however, Citibank is essentially swapping a branding campaign based on the type of user who might be attracted to Citibank (the consumer who understands that life is not just about money) for a 'features and benefits' brand positioning. The 'Live Richly' brand positioning was clear and defendable. By using television and huge spend levels, Citi is creating new brand positioning with these product spots whether they like it or not."

All of this points up a major problem with brands today: a lack of continuity. Instead of updating “Live richly” to incorporate the key message of “Let’s get it done,” which could have been done, the bank dumps a successful brand in favor of a very bland, commodity-like imitation of a bank positioning that has already been taken. Sad.

*Note: I have no way of knowing whether the campaign is actually an imitation or just happens to look like one. It doesn't really matter, though...because this is really a matter of perception. The RBS ads hit the streets before the Citi ads did (http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-6387518/RBS-takes-Make-it-happen.html), and that's what counts.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

________________
All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …