What Everybody Should Know About the CommBank CAN Campaign

Information verified correct on September 29th, 2016
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Love it or hate it, the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘CAN’ advertising campaign has made its mark.

Before reporting a $7.1 billion dollar profit this year, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) took on one of the biggest media buys we have seen to date to help support a new image of the brand.

Every employee of the CBA will now bring a ‘can do’ attitude to the workplace, in an effort to help customers move forward with their financial goals.

CBA Chief Marketing and Online Officer Andy Lark says that employees from CBA will always help customers with their financial problems with a positive attitude. ‘CAN expresses the passion we have for helping our customers achieve their goals’ he says. ‘It is the attitude we will bring – through people and technology – to every customer interaction.’

It first started on Sunday May 20 with the ‘CAN’T’ teaser campaign, then the new slogan was revealed to show that the bank ‘CAN’ do anything for the Commbank customer. The campaign replaced the ‘T’ in CAN’T with its diamond logo.

The previous tagline, ‘DETERMINED TO BE DIFFERENT’ has now been scrapped.

CBA celebrated the launch of the campaign by showcasing their property guide app across News Limited’s major metropolitan newspapers nationally on the morning of its release. Those reading their Sunday papers could download the app by holding their iPhone or iPad over the bank’s logo. Readers could also view the new launch commercial.

Targeted at under 35-year-olds, the campaign centres around customer service and the features available to all CBA customers.

The application ‘Kaching’ was the main attribute of the campaign, along with their property guide and the ability of having a same day settlement on credit card and EFTPOS purchases. CBA also offer concierge services, home loan consultation, business advice, home loan health checks and kids banking services.

Advertising agency M&C Saatchi worked with CBA to reposition the brand by changing typefaces and colour swatches, also changing the name to simply ‘Commbank’.

Tom McFarlane, Regional Creative Director for M&C Saatchi wanted to change the way consumers thought about the bank. ‘This is more than just another line. It’s an attitude that taps into the zeitgeist’ he says. ‘I suspect a little inspiration, a bit of optimism and some leadership might be welcome out there right now.’

Despite the millions of dollars invested in the campaign, it was reported that their was a slow uptake of the message by consumers on the morning it was launched. Although television networks and online mediums were bombarded with CBA’s message, it didn’t sink in right away as online traffic numbers were lower than expected.

There was another bomb-out when James Magnussen was named as the face of the campaign. The advertisement was stylishly aired after Magnussen’s poolside spit, after ‘choking’ in the 4x100m freestyle in the 2012 Olympic Games. Even though the campaign reinforced the message of ‘CAN’, James Magnussen had proved the opposite.

toasted bread Customer satisfaction surveys also called for a need to revamp the image and service of not just CBA, but the other three major banks as well. In a bank satisfaction survey conducted in 2011 by Choice, none of the big four scored above 61% out of 100. The banks were ranked in terms of their products and services, value for money and how they solved their customers’ problems. Results from 2010 also showed that the big four banks had not improved their services since.

Of those surveyed, 34% were CBA customers. More than three quarters had reported to be with CBA for longer than ten years. CBA had ranked third against the big four, with a customer satisfaction of only 37%.

NAB ranked first in customer satisfaction with 43%; however, it ranked last in servicing transaction accounts. CEO Cameron Clyne said that it was attributed to the bank’s increased consumer focus in personal banking.

In spite of CBA ranking low in customer satisfaction, the ‘CAN’ campaign reflects the company is ready to promise a level of service that will set the benchmark for the other banks. Grumpy bankers and CEOs ‘CAN’ be a thing of the past.

Through launching the ‘CAN’ campaign, Chief Executive Ian Narev is not only putting pressure on his own employees, he is also adding pressure on his rival CEOs.

‘When an entire company commits itself to a single goal, the results are impressive’ says Narev. ‘Our dedication to improving customer satisfaction has transformed CommBank. But now we are seeking to raise our standards even further.’

When Narev was appointed chief executive of Commonwealth Bank in December 2011, he promised to design a new set of systems to deliver customer satisfaction and increase productivity.

CEO’s of too many Australian companies have been sitting back and enjoying the work that their predecessors have done for them, instead of investing on the systems they already have in place.

A survey by Ernst and Young Australia revealed that Australian workers waste almost a quarter of their day at work, costing businesses more than $41 billion each year – with Australian management to blame.

But the CBA has invested into their systems more than any other bank, and the ‘CAN’ advertisements is an indication that they’re ready to offer an exciting new level of service and efficiency.

Marc Terrano

A passionate journalist who loves to tell a story. Learning and teaching personal finance is my main lot at finder.com.au. Also enjoys video games and fitness.

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