Lloyds’ latest advertising campaign really does leave something to be desired. Behold – a woman reclines euphorically across a wheelbarrow, declaring how she’s ‘learnt to love her bank statements’.
Forgive me for pointing it out, but who in their right mind ‘loves’ their bank statements – other than the rich, of course? (In which case, many thanks, Lloyds, for the reminder.)
I’m reminded of Alan Partridge’s complaint about the inane smiles of catalogue models. “Where do they get these men from?” he barbs. “Who smiles at a Black and Decker Workmate, for goodness sake?”
The irony is, of course, that with the majority of banks now promoting paperless statements to cut costs, it is only when customers go into the red that they can expect to receive a paper statement of charges. How many of us associate love with bank charges?
This campaign is clearly designed to leapfrog the back of stronger growth and growing confidence. It’s promoting the bank’s ‘Money Manager’ service, a basic organising tool that divides account holders’ spending into categories, provides pie-charts to portray this simply, and allows users to set up saving and spending goals.
Not a bad idea in principle. But it’s not the stairway to revolution that will leave customers loving their statements. Lest we need reminding, the cost of living is still rising at around three times the rate of wages, energy costs are spiralling, and if you’re a train commuter, it’s going to be even rougher for you in the New Year.
A little help with money management is all well and good. But dreading a little less is hardly the same as loving – unless a customer’s situation was previously so bad that any improvement instils an outpouring of love for their statements. And if that’s the case, does the bank not bear some responsibility for failing that customer?
One man who is likely to love his statements is Lloyds’ chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osario, who will land a windfall of three million shares if the bank’s share price remains above the price paid by the Government to bail out the bank (73.6p) for 30 consecutive days.
With Lloyds’ shares closing at 80.4p on Friday, marking the third consecutive week above the target, the shares would have to lose 8.5% of their value this week to deny him a payout that could exceed £2.5 million.
This wouldn’t be claimable until 2018, but it’s a nice assurance to have during times when the majority of customers remain increasingly distant from such luxury.
All in all, the ‘love your statements’ talk suddenly seems like a patronising kick in the teeth, doesn’t it?