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No more low profile: in the face of international competition, BNP Paribas rolled out its first global corporate ad campaign, adopting a distinctively offbeat tone.
Neither BNP nor Paribas were major advertisers on the international scene. Their respectable yet discreet approach, however, was totally out of synch with the needs of the BNP Paribas group. The new enterprise has to acquire top-of-mind recognition matched to its vision as a major global bank, especially given the very active presence in international media of competitors such as UBS or Deutsche
Bank. Such was the brief put to Euro RSCG, whose creatives came up with a highly visual response for institutional ads to run in leading international business titles such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.
One might admittedly wonder about the link between the new BNP Paribas and a grand piano flying at low-altitude over a mildly-surprised fisherman. Or between the birth of a financial establishment and gardeners tranquilly planting little skyscrapers. These quirky visuals were selected first of all to heighten the visibility of our ads amidst the mass of all-too-homogenous inserts by commercial banks.
For example, in September alone at least five banks ran ads with references to the Olympic games.
One of the group's strong points is a presence on five continents, springing up, as it were, in the world's business hubs to help clients do the same: "Grow your business wherever you want. We know the terrain and we know how to work it."
Also proscribed was an in-ward-looking approach, since BNP Paribas wanted to express how its corporate and investment banking solutions can help clients move ahead. Studies show that clients want reassuring, recognizable references
in the fast-changing world of unbridled globalization. Any establishment able to reassure clients that it is able to understand and efficiently manage these underlying trends would score precious image points. The new signature,
"The bank for a changing world", clearly states that BNP Paribas is aware
of the situation. At the same time, it remains in control: even as pianos, books and crates fly overhead across the ocean, there is no need for concern, because,
as the copy says: "With global exchanges evolving faster than ever, it's good to know we can help you stay in control." The group is a recognized leader in international trade, and always keeps a cool head.
Piano and fisherman
U.S. photographer Geof Kern transformed the initial sketch of identified flying bjects into a poetic tour de force, adding a surprised fisherman.
Top U.S. photographer
Euro RSCG's "art buying" unit is responsible for transforming the concepts into full-fledged "visuals". A gardener shot by David Hamilton or Arthus Bertrand would obviously not be the same. The agency proposed that the campaign use Geof Kern, an American renowned for an exacting realism that results in a distinctive dreamlike quality. After signing on, Geof Kern scoured the West Coast of the United States until he found an actual field with real skyscrapers in the background.Then there were innumerable variations to find the best angle from which to shoot the suspended grand piano. The results were enthusiastically acclaimed, especially among "Anglo-Saxon" clients. BNP Paribas succeeded in creating an advertising buzz without pouring massive amounts into campaigns, as some competitors have done. This too marks a break with the conventional approach long pursued in the staid world of bank advertising.
A glamorous look for new fund*
BNP Paribas Asset Management has definitely attracted attention with the ads promoting new additions to its Parvest umbrella fund. The ads match a very unique face with the product - that of Italian fashion model Carla Bruni.
To promote Parvest, its Luxembourg-registered umbrella fund, BNP Paribas Asset Management knew it wanted advertising that was distinctively different, something that would stand out. And the face of top model Carla Bruni has indeed proved a striking presence since the campaign began running in European business and finance publications. Equally attractive is the tag line
for the campaign: "The most beautiful investment in the world."
The concept was not chosen by chance. The problem to be resolved was how to interest readers in the benefits of a particularly sophisticated financial product.
An elegant solution
The proposal developed by Euro RSCG BETC was elegant in every sense.
The creative team suggested taking a humorous approach to achieve the key objectives defined by the fund's managers, notably to consolidate Parvest positioning as a top-flight, international fund. The concept features a completely novel take in the staid world of bank advertising, with a parody on traditional beauty ads. Both BNP Paribas Asset Management specialists and the Corporate Communications and Advertising team were won over by the idea of promoting a financial product with the type of claims found in cosmetics ads.
A smashing success
Work quickly progressed from an initial rough layout with a model's hand to a woman's face, preferably a famous one. French model Laetitia Casta was considered, but the final choice was Italian top model Carla Bruni. Her look was less "Gallic" than Laetitia Casta and better suited to vaunting the merits of an international mutual fund.
The Parvest campaign for Europe went from drawing board to inserts in less than six months. Running since November of last year, the success of the Parvest ads has surpassed even the most optimistic projections. Not only has the campaign reached its core target of specialists, who are delighted to see something new in the world of financial communications, it has also been the talk of fashion magazines and major dailies. The photos shot by renowned fashion photographer
Paolo Roversi have received universal praise, and the campaign has received coverage in Elle, Le Figaro Magazine and even The New York Times.
Carla Bruni is clearly on a roll, having also completed an album with French singer Julien Clerc, as well as gracing ad campaigns for both a luxury jeweler and a humanitarian organization. And since there's no reason to change a winning formula, Carla Bruni and Parvest will team up again later this year to promote the discreet charms of a selection of Parvest sub-funds.
*The ad has been translated into eight languages
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