CASSIES Bronze: TD gets comfortable

Grumpy old men help build the most valuable brand in Canada.

BRONZE: Sustained Success 

Situation Analysis The major Canadian banks had historically operated in a world of parity offerings. TD broke this pattern with its promise of longer retail hours, but over time other banks moved into this area. TD also introduced other initiatives under the theme “Making banking comfortable,” but it was not getting credit from consumers. For close to five years, the bank built business by expanding its reputation for putting its customers first.

Strategy & Insight The banking category was stuck in the past. Bankers’ hours were not your hours. It’s no wonder that Canadians loved to hate banks. The exception was TD Canada Trust: it was seen as different. But this had not come through strongly enough in its marketing efforts. It needed to be reinforced in an engaging way.

Execution It was a big decision to launch a campaign starring two old geezers, but “Grumpy Old Men” allowed TD to stand out from the competition and retain its folksy charm. It unfolded with multiple executions – promoting extended hours, mobile mortgage specialists, no appointment meetings with an advisor, Sunday banking, savings strategies and a mortgage vacation. TV and online video were the core media, supported by other online and in-branch communications.

Results Net revenue for the bank rose 6% in 2008, 7% in 2009, 9.6% in 2010 and 10.4% in 2011, with 80% of adjusted earnings coming from retail. TD has performed better than the other four major banks in terms of share price, with an increase of more than 35% between 2007 and 2012 – a period that included the financial meltdown. Interbrand also named TD the number one brand in Canada for 2012, ahead of such icons as Tim Hortons and Lululemon.

Cause & Effect Key performance indicators for all “Grumpy Old Men” messages were well above norms with no major impact from spending, pricing, distribution or sales promotion.


Client: TD Bank Group
VP global brand & advertising: Dianne Smith-Sanderson
AVP advertising & brand communications: Michael Armstrong
Senior marketing manager, advertising and media strategy: Jennifer Matto
VP direct and marketing services: Heather Sutton
Agency: Draftfcb
CCO: Robin Heisey
VP managing director: Sunil Sekhar
VP group creative head: Jeff Hilts
Group account director: Roy Gruia