The Rise of the Banks in advertising

first printed in the – Marketing Africa September Issue

Bank advertising has for a long time been a preserve of the few banks at the top of the rankings but not anymore. Smaller and medium sized banks have recently been on air shouting about their services too. With the Kenyan banking industry consisting of 46 banks the heat is on for all to enlarge their slice of the market.


So how have these campaigns faired? Have they been worth watching? Let’s take a look at the banking campaigns below, in no particular order.

Equity Bank’s M-Kesho

I have always considered Equity Bank to be a game changer in the Banking industry, their mantra seems to be “always do things different but keep it simple”. With the launch of M-Kesho, Equity’s drive to innovate can only be equated to that of the Apple brand.


M-Kesho which runs on Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform has two hilarious debut TV ads showcasing ordinary “wanainchi” looking for good places to hide their hard earned cash.


One lady enters into a room and after ensuring there’s no one begins to untie her extra long headscarf and securely puts her money in there. Once she has carefully put it in and begins to‘re-tie’ it, she sees some money left lying on the shelf.  The expression on her face tells it all – without any words it’s clear that she’s wondering what lengths someone has go to keep money safe?


The second ad is about a gentleman in what seems like the most desolate place he could find with a shovel. He begins to dig a pit to keep his money and before long he has dug deep enough to hide his money.  However because the pit is so deep, he can’t get out of it.


Both ads are simple enough to communicate the benefits of M-Kesho to the general public and the message is echoed on radio and through print ads.  

Family Bank – Pesa pap

Family Bank which recently converted from a Building society is one of the banks that have fully embraced the use of technology to get its services to the people.


Their recent campaign hypes up their range of mobile banking services which include interbank money transfer, Mpesa, purchase of airtime etc.


In the series of ads we see people in diverse instances where they need instant money and Family Banks Pesa Pap sorts them out. The “pap” sound in every ad is achieved by the finger snap to illustrate the instantaneous transaction. Because the ads involve the audience watching with the snap of the fingers, they are more memorable and raise the bar for others seeking to advertise mobile banking service as they may be forced to rely on going the traditional route of showing a cell phone…

Standard Chartered – Here for Good

Standard Chartered is one of Kenya’s biggest banks with global network. Many international companies find it difficult to standardize their communication across numerous markets because of the unique nature of each however [from what we have seen so far] Stanchart’s new ad campaign “Here for good” may just have managed to pull off the impossible.


The campaign tells the story of why Stanchart is here to stay and how it’s going to “execute” its plan. It creatively uses words that are formed through images and objects used in the ad. For example we see a group of women carrying baskets spell the word “people” as our Kenyan runners in a marathon spell the words in the “long run”.


This culminates on the tagline “Here for good” and ends with the new black and white Standard Chartered logo.

Coop Bank – Personal loans

Coop Bank has a long standing tradition of showcasing some of the wittiest and hilarious ads; their new campaign– I need some money – aimed at publicizing their personal loans does not disappoint.  The campaign coined along with the words I need some money shows normal everyday situations that require quick money such as that ¼ acre plot of land, a new car, some new electronics for the house, a new sofa and carpet, university education etc


In the ad we see someone looking at a plot of land, a lady with her old beat up car and then see their dreams for the thing they desire get fulfilled thanks to Coop Bank personal loans. While the TV ads and billboards are barely okay, the real genius of this campaign is the radio ads. They are extremely creative, fun and truly Coop Bank.


CFC Stanbic – Moving Forward

CFC Stanbic the new bank born out of the merger of CFC Bank and Stanbic bank has been running a corporate campaign from their parent company- Standard Bank- based in South Africa.


Running under the campaign tag “Moving forward” CFC Stanbic has gone ahead to do a local commercial showing how the lives of 4 different people, an old man, a young student, a couple and a teacher are moving forward helped by CFC Stanbic.


The ad shows how their lives are all important to CFC Stanbic bank.  I should commend CFC Stanbic for adapting the Africa wide communication and making it work for this market. It’s a good start that CFC Stanbic can build on.

NIC Bank – Entrepreneur campaign –We are in this together

A few years back NIC was known as a force to reckon with in personal banking after they innovated and revolutionized their personal banking services with MOVE – the new way to bank! NIC has since re-branded and have now reverted to building on their reputation as a business bank with serious emphasis on asset financing.


In their latest campaign designed to drive their SME division, we see different SME owners seated on a bench (akin to that of Jeff Koinange) with their respective NIC Bank counterparts discussing candidly about how the Bank – SME relationship is managed.


The ad then ends on the logo and tag “We’re in this together”. These ads are very candid using real life bank customers talking about their relationship with their bank, a brilliant way to show the trust every SME needs in their banking partner.


Did I miss anything? Got something to tell me? Email me on:


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