Llamas, Snoop Dog and Barbados: Getting banking ads right

Banking has radically changed over the past decade. With new advancements in technology, you can now access, pay, and transfer your finances from anywhere. Many of the traditional banks quickly leveraged these new changes to help their customers, but many were left behind (and still are) when it comes to the new era of online banking.

Although many of the traditional players stepped up, a number of start-ups emerged and saw that although these banks were adopting new tech, many of the old practices were still present in their workings. New ‘challenger banks’ emerged like Monzo and Revolut, aimed at providing a new revolutionised experience to help customers keep track of their finances in a quicker, easier way than was previously possible.

These ‘new’ banks came out with edgy, cool advertising campaigns which were very different from the advertising that many were used to seeing from traditional banks, and after seeing their success a number of traditional banks followed suit.

We’ve run some of the most bizarre banking ads we’ve come across through our emotional testing tool, UnrulyEQ, to find out how well they performed and whether these types of ads really work in reaching consumers.

Snoop Dog takes centre stage

Klarna is a Swedish bank that provides online financial services including payment solutions for online storefronts, direct payments, and post-purchase payments. This year it was announced that Snoop Dog (yes, THE Snoop Dog), had become a shareholder in the company, and a new marketing campaign was launched, fronted by the rapper.

Well, what can we say! The ad certainly makes a splash and received mixed opinions in Sweden. Our emotional data showed high levels of confusion amongst viewers (30% vs a norm of 16%), this is likely due to the bizarre scenes throughout the ad, and that it’s not clear that the ad is for Klarna until the very end when the logo and tagline appear.

The top three emotions that this ad evoked were inspiration, warmth and happiness, helping viewers develop a positive view of the brand. This strange ad featuring a well-known celebrity will no doubt ensure that viewers remember the ad. This along with the logo appearing at the end will have contributed to the high level (73%) of brand recall amongst viewers.

Although our analysis showed that many viewers were confused by this ad, overall, the ad succeeded in building brand recall and leaving viewers feeling positive about the brand, however strong feelings of confusion indicate that people didn’t understand what the ad had to do with the brand. High levels of confusion can minimise positive responses because if viewers don’t understand what’s going on, they are less likely to emotionally engage with the ad.

Here’s a llama, there’s a llama…

Let’s take a look at another bizarre banking ad, this time from the US banking giant Bank of America entitled the Llama…(just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger).

Again, similar to Klarna’s ad (and unsurprisingly) this ad scored extremely high for confusion (34% vs. 11% norm). This is likely down to the ad being pretty strange, and again, only revealing the brand at the end of the commercial.

This ad scored considerably below-norm across all key metrics. Most noticeably; 17% vs. 39% norm for purchase intent, 22% vs. 39% for finding out more and 13% vs. 39% for favourability. These stats indicate that the ad did not succeed in driving potential new customers or building strong brand recall. Looking deeper into brand recall 56% of viewers could not remember or tell who the brand was after viewing the ad, and 12% of viewers did not think the ad mentioned a brand.

Travelling with Monzo

Monzo is a digital-only bank which is based in the UK and was founded just 4 years ago. Since its inception, it’s grown exponentially and has sought to shake up the banking industry by offering a straight forward online-only service.

Unlike the other two ads, it’s clear from the outset that this is a banking ad, and the ad highlights features that are available with if you hold a Monzo account. With this ad, Monzo was able to keep it fun and fresh whilst conveying its message effectively. As a result, it scored highly for knowledge (17% vs a norm of 8%) and scored above the norm for all key metrics. What’s more 74% of viewers said they remembered the brand after watching the ad.

Interestingly the ad scored above average for contempt, this is likely due to viewers thinking that the features that Monzo offer are not that different from what their bank offers, and as a result don’t see why they would need to sign up with them.

Which emotions come out on top?

We took a look at all the banking ads we’ve ever tested across the globe to see what emotions are most commonly evoked by banking brands.

Banking ads emotions chart

We found that banking ads typical underperform for intense emotional response compared to the Global Norm which is likely because of the increased levels of knowledge. Many banking ads use a voice over and a lot of on-screen text. If viewers are taking in new information it can inhibit their ability to connect with the video. The amount of information conveyed in these videos can, shown by the above-norm levels of confusion, be overwhelming.

However, going the other way and not conveying hardly any information, as we saw in the Klarna ad, can be just as confusing. Giving less information and focusing more on telling a story is a primary way to stand out amongst other banking ads. As we saw, Monzo did this well in their travel ad. There’s nothing wrong with banks wanting to stand out and make a splash by being a bit different, but they need to ensure that their story doesn’t get lost amongst all the glitz and glam (or llamas and dressing gowns).

Find out more about UnrulyEQ.

This week Unruly’s CEO, Norm Johnston, appeared on Mediatel’s Media and Marketing podcast.

He joined Isabel Massey, group digital director at Diageo, and Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers, to discuss the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

The alliance was formed at Cannes last month and seeks to improve the safety of online environments. Together, they are rallying publishers and platforms to do more to address harmful and misleading content and to work together to develop and deliver against a concrete set of actions, processes and protocols for protecting people and brands.

The podcast talks about why the alliance was set up, the importance of having businesses from across the media and advertising industries come together, and the short and long term goals of the alliance.

Listen to the podcast.

Find out more about the new WFA alliance.

For the next in the A-Z of adtech series, our Demand BD Executive, Luca Bozzo, looks at the wonderful world of outstream, where we began, how it’s being used, and what the future holds for this format.

From humble beginnings to the fastest growing video format

Outstream as a format has achieved its original, necessary purpose: open up significantly more video supply and do it at a lower price point.

Publishers couldn’t create enough video content to keep up with the seismic spend shift to video, and demand for the burgeoning channel made CPMs balloon. Outstream solved both issues at once by opening up net new inventory while keeping CPMs low, and it’s skyrocketed since.

It’s only natural that traders, platforms, and publishers all took note. According to the IAB, outstream is now the fastest growing video format, but with increased interest in the format and with the typical “MADtech” craziness, comes lots of confusion around what it actually means. The typical view is that outstream is less premium than in-stream (pre-/mid-/post-roll).

The various flavours of this format only add to the noise. The IAB’s Video Advertising Glossary defines outstream as “taking place outside of in-stream video content.” Definitions based in not statements are never clear and as a result four of the five possible video placements in oRTB v2.5 fall under the umbrella of “outstream.”

Based on the above definition, two key issues arise here:
1) When is outstream good and when is it not?
2) How do we instil confidence in a format that’s not seen in the best light?

Outstream done wrong

red light

In today’s environment, not all outstream is created equal but is treated equally.

How many times have you hit an article and had a video start playing with sound on full blast, but not actually be on the screen? After frantically finding it, there’s no way to close or even mute it! That type of experience is wrong and gives the format as a whole a bad rep. For more on, and to find out how we’re tackling it check out our article on HAVOC.

Other types of bad outstream include units that play below an article’s related section but bill off a CPM. This is detrimental to advertisers, especially when users’ median scroll depth on a typical article is 60% of the total content.

Some variations of outstream aren’t as bad, but just can’t be effectively communicated right now. Most advertisers wouldn’t intentionally buy these experiences – they’re arguably part of the declaration fraud problem as reported by AdExchanger – but perhaps some might.

Ultimately, outstream should look like the golden rule in action – give users the experience you’d want on the web. At Unruly, we pride ourselves on delivering polite formats. Our flagship in-article unit initiates once it comes into view (the industry standard billing event for outstream), our ads have sound-off by default and are skippable! And that’s all on ultra premium supply – 90% of our views get delivered on comScore 1000 sites.

Embodying the golden rule starts with communication. When there’s no way to differentiate between good and bad outstream experiences, it’s all lumped together and will obviously not be positive.

Outstream done right

green light

It can produce staggering impacts across performance, consumer attitudes and engagement, and buyer targeting. Good outstream is arguably more valuable than good in-stream, and definitely more valuable than bad in-stream.

In-article videos that are high up on a premium publisher’s page can drive a 23% higher viewability than in-stream with 25% lower IVT rates, according to eMarketer.

Polite outstream ups brand favorability. While in-stream today resembles a second form of “rewarded” video (only the prize isn’t coins in Simcity but the Kardashian video you wanted to watch in the first place), good outstream is 4x less likely to be deemed “extremely intrusive” and increases purchase intent by 50%.

Lastly, outstream opens up new targeting opportunities since it can run anywhere. Brands can reach their key consumers when and where it makes sense to do so. Outstream also drastically increases touchpoints – we saw a 4.8x uplift in views on campaigns targeting in-stream when they added in-article.

What does the future hold?

Given the many forms, outstream can take and how drastic these differences can be, it’s imperative that buyers know what they’re actually buying. New signals in bid requests are a great first step but are behind (remember that video.placement was included in January 2017 with oRTB v2.5 – not that long ago).

Accurately communicating variables like start and end pixel sizes, the unit’s depth into an article, video skippability, whether the placement type changes during the experience, etc. will build buyer confidence and help publishers feel better about using this powerful format.

From a transparency perspective, more communication naturally creates more trust. Because buyers will better understand what outstream they want, they can actively pursue it. That will inadvertently shift spend to positive experiences and force poorer quality inventory to adapt or die. And when outstream auctions fully move to the header and all major SSPs are competing for every impression, the platforms that can communicate clearest will succeed.

Find out more about Unruly’s formats.

Check out other posts in the A-Z of adtech series.

In this edition of the A-Z of adtech, we examine how premium environments like news sites, boost metrics for video ads.

A recent study by Newsworks and the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) looked at ads in premium environments compared to social media and found some interesting results…


So what does all this mean?

Left brain memory encoding, which processes words and detail, is 42% stronger when people view ads on premium editorial sites than when they see the same ads on social media sites.

Right brain memory encoding (higher emotional intensity) is strong for both premium sites and social media, but ads on premium sites still generate a 9% stronger response.

Ads on premium sites are viewed for an average of 17% longer compared to ads on social media.

The study found that ads on premium sites created 29% higher engagement (personal relevance) compared to ads on non-premium sites.

Ads seen within a premium context also elicit stronger, more positive emotional responses, and ads that evoke an above average emotion score deliver a 23% uplift in sales volume.

Check out the full report.

Find out more about our UnrulyX and UnrulyEQ product offerings.

This week, Unruly’s VP, Insight & Solutions, UK, Becky Waring appeared on the IAB podcast alongside Snap’s Ed Couchman.

They both joined IAB’s Head of Marketing, Tom Stevens, to look in more detail at two areas of emerging digital: emotional targeting and camera marketing.

Becky discusses the effectiveness of using emotions in advertising and the work that Unruly is doing to help brands and advertisers target the right audiences, in the right environments, at the right time with the right content.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Today 6-second ads are everywhere – we’ve just seen the first of them on linear TV, but not long ago they were revolutionary.

Where did 6-second ads come from?

In 2016 YouTube introduced the 6-second video and upended the industry’s dogged loyalty to the tried and tested 30-second format.

For years advertisers had been struggling with a big dilemma – place ads ahead of popular video content and either have them skipped or make them unskippable and risk angering their audiences.

The 6-second ad promised to change all that. YouTube’s unskippable new format threw advertisers a lifeline when it came to engaging with the millennial attention span that was fine-tuned to respond to snack-sized content.

Where YouTube stepped, other social channels and media owners followed. Competitions and festivals celebrated the new 6-second canvas. It was a win-win situation. Wasn’t it?

Not quite. While some lauded ‘the bumper’ as an ad solution for the social era, the sad truth was that cutting a 30, 45 or 60-second ad down to 6 seconds wasn’t without its challenges.

Uninformed non-data driven edits of the full ad without understanding the subtlety in narrative / emotional impact resulted in sometimes noisy, jarring results.

Supporters of the bumper ads argued that this ultra-short form content wasn’t meant to be viewed in isolation. There is a lot of truth to this.

Due to their length, bumpers didn’t have the same annoyance factor on repeated viewing, and multiple bumpers from the same campaign created a cascade delivery effect – small snippets of content assimilated by the viewer.

Getting the 6-second format right

Fortunately, creating 6-second ads can now be informed by studies and data to help you arrive at bumper ads that can make a powerful contribution to your media strategy.

At Unruly we know the power of both narrative and emotions in video for years.

Our emotional testing and targeting tool – UnrulyEQ – helps brands and agencies understand the dominant emotions in their ad content, using that same expertise to build out emotional audiences at scale.

Outside of the emotional reaction data, we wanted to identify the key drivers of 6-second video success. To do this we collaborated on a new study by San Diego University to rigorously analyse over 3,000 6-second videos.

Long vs short

The study found that long-form content will always have a role to play. Longer ads are consistently shown to be more effective.

They allow more information to be conveyed and chronology and causation to be exhibited, which allows for narrative persuasion. Those all-important emotions which are critical to a successful ad need time to develop.

6-second ads study

Viewers are drawn into the story, leading to better recall and bigger attitude changes.

While this suggests the 6-second mobile format faces more challenges, some brands have mastered this format and created very successful short-form ads which convert viewers to buyers. The study looked to identify what drove that success and understand how it could be replicated.

6-second ads require a narrative rethink

Normal ad and film conventions don’t apply. The best examples employed non-traditional or simplified narrative storytelling or even a complete absence of narrative storytelling.

Check out this example by M&S as a good example of highly simplified narrative – how do you make hot cross buns, ingredients, mix, cook, ready – a very simple beginning, middle and end.

Nor does everything need to be spelt out for the viewer. The most successful ads leveraged existing knowledge and culture, such as character archetypes, genres tropes, existing brand associations or characters, and allowed them to infer the information.

This ad for Road Lodge Hotels – the ad relies on the assumed knowledge of the viewer – that we know rock stars are famed for trashing hotel rooms.

Bumpers can also be used as building blocks for a larger story, either as a collection of vignettes or through serialised storytelling.

Like these ads for Airbnb here and here – by using the same family and style and tone, the ads build a world without needing to be viewed in sequence.

Distribution and targeting are more important than ever!

If you’re using non-traditional storytelling, it’s critical to understand your audience. Messages need to be tailored to a specific audience in order to land.

You need to know exactly who is seeing your ads if you’re relying on existing viewer knowledge for them to make sense or land culturally.

And the use of vignette or serialised storytelling requires hyper-targeting or retargeting to ensure your message makes sense to viewers.

6-second packages

With this in mind, News Corp Australia and Unruly have just launched brand new 6-second packages to help advertisers reach the right audiences for their short form creatives.

Unruly and News AU 6 second ad packages

Our packages leverage the incredible targeting power of News Connect – allowing advertisers to focus on who is seeing their ads rather than worrying about how they’re seeing them.

They combine New Corp Australia’s pre-roll inventory with Unruly’s outstream inventory to smash a range of KPIs like awareness or consideration.

Running exclusively across Australia’s largest short-form storytelling ecosystem, these packages provide cost-effective reach in a premium, brand-safe environment.

So advertisers can rest assured they can jump on the 6-second bandwagon, safe in the knowledge that their ads will hit their mark, without breaking the bank.

The San Diego University findings confirm that 6-second ads can be successful, however, advertisers need to think outside the box when it comes to narrative and be on point with their targeting.

Click here to find out more or get in touch with our team.

Each day this week we will be giving you a quick rundown of our highlights from Cannes Lions, and a summary of the emotions that people have felt across the festival.

Last night we caught a performance by Craig David near the marina, explored some of the amazing yachts, caught some rooftop jazz and spent some much-deserved chill out time on the beach!

We caught an inspiring discussion in the Lumiere Theatre this morning, focussing on diversity in gender representation and the amazing #ShowUs project from Getty Images, Dove and Girl Gaze.

Today was a day of meetings for most of the team, catching up with clients, and meeting lots of new faces. Our VP Client Partner, Nigel Ashton, spent an amazing afternoon with Unilever and caught up with their CEO Alan Jope and Unilever ‘s Global EVP of Marketing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Aline Santos Farhat.

…and this afternoon we heard a great talk from Mastercard’s CMO, Raja Rajamannar, in the Palais, on the ongoing challenges and opportunities around data and technology, and what he believes we need to do in order to move our industry forward over the next 12 months.

It’s been a jammed packed day at Cannes with Norm Johnston taking to the stage this morning to speak about his predictions for the next 18 months, Nicky Spooner and Rebecca Waring joined MediaCom to discuss how sports events connect with audiences, we held a joint event with Brave Bison on ‘The Role of Emotions and Culture in Creative Effectiveness’ in the Unruly apartment, and we had lots more meetings across the festival.

Last night we had great fun at the Lad Bible party, catching up with old friends and dancing the night away in true Unruly fashion.

Our CEO, Norm Johnston, took part in the Future Gazers panel along with Julia Challicom, Kidovation Founder, Accenture Interactive and Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director, Diageo on the Terrace Stage, at the Palais des Festivals.

Our VP of Strategy, Nicola Spooner, and VP of Insight and Solutions, Rebecca Waring, joined Mediacom on stage to demonstrate how sporting events can be used to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

We had lots more meetings across the festival, catching up with old friends and speaking to new ones about what we’ve been up to at Unruly.

We caught the inspirational Seng Yee Lau from Tencent on stage, speaking about using technology for good and how creatively curated Technology can provide equality in educational opportunities, eliminate economic barriers, and protect cultural artefacts.

We also caught an exciting presentation from Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, sharing his vision for the future of business and looking at the role that marketers play in applying creativity to solve problems.

This morning we joined 16 of the world’s leading advertisers as they announced the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (click here to find out more).

We caught an incredibly inspiring talk from Jay Pattissall, speaking on what we must all do to change and move our industry forward for the better.

The APAC team have been running up and down the Croisette all day, cramming in lots of meetings!

We held our first ever UNext event in the amazing Unruly apartment, bringing together the world of programmatic and unpicking the issues that matter to brands.

…and finally, back in London, Sophie Evans took part in OMD’s Empathy Explained panel to discuss trends and themes coming out of Cannes Lions through an empathy lens.

What an amazing first day in Cannes! We’ve heard some great talks already from the likes of Samsung, P&G, Versify and Instagram, have caught up with lots of friends over a glass or two of rosé, have taken a flight over the festival, and most importantly soaked up some much-needed sun!

We heard a great session at the Debussy Theatre on Conversations that Shape Culture, looking at how some of the world’s leading brands have turned damaging conversations on their head through innovative ideas and clever PR.

We took a short pit stop by the beach!

We caught an amazing talk on the power of words, and a moving performance from Kwame Alexander on the UNdefeated, the UNlimited and the UNspeakable!

We had an incredible ride over the Cannes festival with Rabbicorn Films in a private jet!

We heard an inspirational session from Samsung’s CMO, looking at what Gen Z will come to expect from brands in the coming years.

…and we rounded the afternoon off with a catch up with OpenX on the beach!

New for 2019 and in partnership with Twitter, the Future Gazers on the Terrace series brings together a group of hand-selected visionaries from across the industry to paint a picture of our world 18 months from now.

Unruly’s CEO Norm Johnston will join the Future Gazers panel at Cannes Lions on Wednesday 19th at 10 am and be joined by Julia Challicom, Kidovation Founder, Accenture Interactive and Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director, Diageo on the Terrace Stage, Palais des Festivals.

Each speaker will present a vision for their chosen focus area. The Future of Media, Design, AI and Wellness will all be explored as part of the series, plus more! Further discussion between the future gazers will unpick the world of tomorrow right before your eyes.

Why 18 months? Because the insights gained from these sessions will be tangible and immediately actionable for you to future-proof your organisation and creative ideas on your return home.

Take an eye-opening walk into the future…

Check out the full Cannes programme here.

Unruly will be tracking the emotions of visitors to this year’s Cannes Lions Festival.

The #CannesYouFeelIt web app invites users to check-in one of six emotions at any location across the city of Cannes during the Festival. Data from each check-in is visible on a map of the City of Cannes, allowing viewers to see how people are feeling.

Speaking to the origins of the #CannesYouFeelIt, Louise Tullin, Global CMO, Unruly commented: “In a week packed with inspiring talks, heated debates, tough competitions as well as a few parties, the Cannes Lions Festival is definitely a place where emotions run high. As the leading experts in understanding emotional data, we wanted to run this experiment to build a data-driven mood portrait of the Festival experience.”

Festival visitors will be able to choose from six different emotional states: Happy, Inspired, Amazed, Surprised, Sad and Hungover.

To check-in an emotion, users simply visit https://cannes.unruly.co or scan the Unruly barcode wherever they see it to visit the web-based app. Users have the option to save a shortcut to their phone, allowing them to check-in with emotions wherever they are, whenever they feel like it. The emotions are

Check-in data is completely anonymous and no sign in or registration is required for the app, and it only collects GPS data and time stamp. Data from each day of the Festival will be published by Unruly at the end of each day of the event.

The #CannesYouFeelIt web app is part of Unruly’s presence at this year’s Cannes Lions.

News Corp Australia and Unruly are pleased to announce the launch of a suite of new 6 second packages.

The packages were developed to help advertisers take advantage of the explosion and proliferation of the 6-second ad format.

They combine New Corp Australia’s pre-roll inventory with Unruly’s outstream inventory to hit a range of KPIs like awareness or consideration. Running exclusively across Australia’s largest short-form storytelling ecosystem, these packages provide cost-effective reach in a premium, brand-safe environment.

In order to understand the key drivers of 6-second success, Unruly teamed up with the University of San Diego and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to analyse 3,000+ 6 second videos.

The study found that the role of long-form content is not in contention – longer ads have consistently been shown to be more effective and allow more information to be conveyed and chronology and causation to be exhibited, which allows for narrative persuasion – a viewer is drawn into a story, leading to better recall and bigger attitude changes.

This suggests that the 6-second mobile format faces more challenges, but some brands have mastered this format, creating very successful short-form ads which convert viewers to buyers. The study looked to identify what drove that success and understand how it could be replicated.

The study’s key findings are:

  • 6-second ads require a narrative rethink
  • Don’t be held up by ad and film conventions
  • Employ either non-traditional narrative, non-narrative or highly simplified narrative storytelling
  • Don’t spell everything out for the viewer – leverage existing knowledge and culture (e.g. character archetypes, genres, existing brand associations or characters) and allow them to infer information
  • Use 6 seconds as building blocks for a larger story – vignette or serialised storytelling
  • Distribution and targeting are more important than ever with 6-second ads
  • When employing non-traditional storytelling, understanding your audience is critical
  • Messages need to be tailored for a specific audience in order to land
  • If relying on existing viewer knowledge and inference, knowing who is seeing your ads is critical
  • Use of vignette or serialised storytelling requires hyper-targeting or retargeting to ensure message makes sense to viewers

News Corp Australia and Unruly’s new 6 second packages help advertisers reach the right audiences for their short form creatives. The packages leverage the incredible targeting power of News Connect – allowing advertisers to focus on who is seeing their ads rather than worrying about how they’re seeing them.

So advertisers can take advantage of this engaging format, safe in the knowledge that their ads will hit their mark, without breaking the bank.

To find out more about the new 6 second packages or to hear more about the 6-second research findings, click here and to fill out a contact form.