BMO brings its help desk to customers

New creative featuring actor Lamorne Morris positions the bank as serving customers whenever and wherever they need it.

A help desk that appears where and when you need it most is what some might call the epitome of customer service. It’s also a cheeky way to emphasize the bank’s convenient service and digital innovation positioning by demonstrating its commitment to making banking more accessible, while “maintaining the human touch” that BMO is known for, says Jennifer Carli, VP North American brand and enterprise content at BMO.

The first of a series of television spots by FCB Canada shows New Girls actor Lamorne Morris as a BMO employee appearing at a public pool as a couple discuss going on a tropical vacation. Morris’ desk floats over to them as he explains the bank’s high-savings rates, but gets called out by a lifeguard for breaking the no-desks-in-the-pool rule.

The campaign launched on March 25 in the U.S. and will be followed by a second ad, also featuring Morris, promoting U.S. subsidiary BMO Harris’ smart advantage account in May. At that time, the spots will come to Canada – along with social, digital and another video – promoting the bank’s cashback mastercard in the local market.

The new ads build on BMO’s ongoing “The BMO Effect” work, launched in 2016, which focuses on the feeling customers get when their financial services provider goes above and beyond what’s expected, says Carli. The latest work embodies this commitment, she says, by showing Morris providing advice whenever and wherever customers need it.

This particular spot was chosen to lead the campaign because high-interest savings products are particularly relevant to U.S. consumers at the moment, according to Carli. It’s subsequent deployment in Canada reflects the fact that these savings products are “an important consumer need and business priority” for BMO. Debt loads and the amount they are able to save have been a major source of stress for Canadians in recent years, with the Bank of Canada warning in December that the household savings rate hit its lowest annual average since 2005.

While Canada’s Big Five banks have invested in campaigns and platforms positioning themselves as reliable financial advice providers, a 2019 retail banking survey by J.D. Power found customer satisfaction with banks has dipped in Canada. The majority of customers said they would like to receive advice through digital means like a website or app, but only 10% said they had most recently received help that way.

BMO’s help desk concept presents an opportunity for humour, as it can be used in a variety of unexpected ways. Carli says the humorous approach, which makes the work and engaging and memorable, coupled with the “trustworthiness and approachability” that stems from using a recognizable actor, will continue building momentum for “The BMO Effect.”

The BMO business is led by FCB Canada, with the agency’s regional offices, including Chicago, supporting as needed. Media duties are being handled by UM.