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Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Michael Carnevale

Michael Carnevale

April 30, 2018

Because you shouldn’t just believe in something—you should act on it

"We’re just reminding them what it means to be human."

When creating a campaign for a bank, it’s easy to talk about money, customer service, or ease of access. Gregg Nelson, SVP & Group Creative Director of Arnold, takes us behind the scenes of this feel-good spot for Huntington Bank and explains why they set out on a mission rather than a product pitch.

 

So, what inspired the storyline that follows this young woman throughout the spot?

Huntington wanted to introduce their new brand platform, “Let’s Look Out for Each Other,” which is simply the idea of taking a moment to do something nice for others. And how, eventually, if we all do that, we can make the world a better place. So we took a step back and thought about what types of things keep people from thinking about others. The idea of our society being obsessed with technology seemed like a great way to get the message across, and allowed us to introduce a philosophy the way tech companies introduce new products.


Why the focus on small gestures?

We couldn’t go out and say, “Everyone has to start putting a ton of effort into this, and then we’ll eventually change the world.” People would just shut down and disregard it. A company can’t come out and put the onus on everyone else—especially something as big as making the world a better place. We’re not really asking anyone to do anything. We’re just reminding them what it means to be human. Hold a door open, help someone with their groceries—even just a smile and a hello. Anyone can do that. And more importantly, anyone can see why it’s important to do it. It’s about the ripple effect—a little bit of effort with the end result of making the world a better place. That’s something people can get behind.


How does the campaign tie into Huntington Bank’s brand message?

Huntington is one of the few companies that honestly believe in their mission. They were built on the idea of helping people. They actually remember that this is why banks exist: to help people succeed. In short, looking out for people. So the idea is to spread that sentiment outside the walls of Huntington. At its core, it’s an altruistic message. Which is unexpected, coming from a bank, but that’s what makes it so powerful.

"The larger takeaway is helping people realize just how easy it is to have a huge impact on the world."


Who is the target of this campaign?

Huntington is a Midwestern bank. But the target is bigger than that. Because it’s actually a message about changing the world. It will start in the Midwest, where people will see it, but the hope is that it will spread. Sure, it’s ambitious, but it’s a great thing to be ambitious about.


How does this spot appeal to them?

The Midwest prides itself on its values. But instead of just saying, “We believe in the same values,” we’re actually showing what we believe in. So when people see this, they will see themselves in it and, hopefully, just put more effort into the things they’re already doing.


What do you want people to take away after watching this film?

Obviously, it’s an ad for a bank. So the first takeaway is that Huntington is a bank that believes in people looking out for people. The kind of thing you look for in a bank. But the larger takeaway actually has nothing to do with banking. The larger takeaway is helping people realize just how easy it is to have a huge impact on the world.


Reactions so far?

One of the reasons we created the spot was to rally the company internally. And so far, the reaction has been amazing. Employees love it. And it’s the same with the public reception. People love that it’s a bank that’s talking about more than just money. It’s not often that a bank goes out there and says, “We can all change the world, and here’s an easy way to do it.” The point of any good advertising is to break through the clutter. And in banking, there’s a lot of clutter. So people are sitting up and taking notice.  

Whether this was attached to a brand or not, it’s a message that we loved getting out into the world. It’s not often you get to work on something that has the potential to change the world. Like, actually change the world. Sure, that sounds grandiose, but that is actually the point.

"We’re just reminding them what it means to be human."

When creating a campaign for a bank, it’s easy to talk about money, customer service, or ease of access. Gregg Nelson, SVP & Group Creative Director of Arnold, takes us behind the scenes of this feel-good spot for Huntington Bank and explains why they set out on a mission rather than a product pitch.

 

So, what inspired the storyline that follows this young woman throughout the spot?

Huntington wanted to introduce their new brand platform, “Let’s Look Out for Each Other,” which is simply the idea of taking a moment to do something nice for others. And how, eventually, if we all do that, we can make the world a better place. So we took a step back and thought about what types of things keep people from thinking about others. The idea of our society being obsessed with technology seemed like a great way to get the message across, and allowed us to introduce a philosophy the way tech companies introduce new products.


Why the focus on small gestures?

We couldn’t go out and say, “Everyone has to start putting a ton of effort into this, and then we’ll eventually change the world.” People would just shut down and disregard it. A company can’t come out and put the onus on everyone else—especially something as big as making the world a better place. We’re not really asking anyone to do anything. We’re just reminding them what it means to be human. Hold a door open, help someone with their groceries—even just a smile and a hello. Anyone can do that. And more importantly, anyone can see why it’s important to do it. It’s about the ripple effect—a little bit of effort with the end result of making the world a better place. That’s something people can get behind.


How does the campaign tie into Huntington Bank’s brand message?

Huntington is one of the few companies that honestly believe in their mission. They were built on the idea of helping people. They actually remember that this is why banks exist: to help people succeed. In short, looking out for people. So the idea is to spread that sentiment outside the walls of Huntington. At its core, it’s an altruistic message. Which is unexpected, coming from a bank, but that’s what makes it so powerful.

"The larger takeaway is helping people realize just how easy it is to have a huge impact on the world."


Who is the target of this campaign?

Huntington is a Midwestern bank. But the target is bigger than that. Because it’s actually a message about changing the world. It will start in the Midwest, where people will see it, but the hope is that it will spread. Sure, it’s ambitious, but it’s a great thing to be ambitious about.


How does this spot appeal to them?

The Midwest prides itself on its values. But instead of just saying, “We believe in the same values,” we’re actually showing what we believe in. So when people see this, they will see themselves in it and, hopefully, just put more effort into the things they’re already doing.


What do you want people to take away after watching this film?

Obviously, it’s an ad for a bank. So the first takeaway is that Huntington is a bank that believes in people looking out for people. The kind of thing you look for in a bank. But the larger takeaway actually has nothing to do with banking. The larger takeaway is helping people realize just how easy it is to have a huge impact on the world.


Reactions so far?

One of the reasons we created the spot was to rally the company internally. And so far, the reaction has been amazing. Employees love it. And it’s the same with the public reception. People love that it’s a bank that’s talking about more than just money. It’s not often that a bank goes out there and says, “We can all change the world, and here’s an easy way to do it.” The point of any good advertising is to break through the clutter. And in banking, there’s a lot of clutter. So people are sitting up and taking notice.  

Whether this was attached to a brand or not, it’s a message that we loved getting out into the world. It’s not often you get to work on something that has the potential to change the world. Like, actually change the world. Sure, that sounds grandiose, but that is actually the point.

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