June 01, 2009

Aviva Re-branding Shows Just How Out of Touch Financial Services Marketing Can Be

As a major global player in the insurance industry, Aviva is completing the last stages of its rebranding that will merge 40 different international trading names under one single brand.  

Certainly, the rational for a global brand makes sense, but the company’s star studded advertisements demonstrate that marketing in the financial services sectors is simply out of touch.

Aviva argues that its rebranding will distance the company from other financial institutions discredited by the financial crisis.  However, big budget advertisements and rebranding initiatives will not lift consumer confidence in the face of events at Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS.

Confronted with a challenge, corporate marketing at AVIVA has reached for the old reliable - rebranding and high-gloss advertising.  The only problem is that they don’t work anymore.    Typical of the backlash one irate consumer pointed out ‘while taxpayer-funded government bail-outs are saving banks and insurance companies, Norwich Union is flooding the airwaves with their new big spend TV ads.  It is very wrong.’

Meanwhile, the company boasts that it has negotiated great bargains on its change of name advertising campaign (created by agency AMV BBDO) and media spend, including celebrity endorsements from big names such as Bruce Willis, Elle MacPhearson and Ringo Star.  Yet, the total cost put at £80 million did raise heckles at the company’s recent A.G.M.

Get ready for more fancy rebranding campaigns.  Marketing Week points out that other financial institutions are likely to change their name:
  • Santander is set to rebrand Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.
  • Axa will axe Sun Life
  • Cornhill Insurance will be absorbed into Allianz.
  • The names of Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege may ultimate change to as they are sold off by RBS.

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