Scotiabank guides people through a world of bad advice

A new campaign continues the bank's shift from marketing around products and services to talking about "life and living."


These days, it seems everyone and their mother wants to offer some advice. A new campaign from Scotiabank, however, looks to clarify the difference between advice from your old high school friend on social media and a trusted financial institution.

The campaign, titled “Bad Advice,” was developed by the bank’s AOR, Rethink, and is its response to a survey it conducted that revealed 81% of Canadians “find the financial world more confusing and complex than they did five years ago, so the need for good advice is more present than ever,” says John Rocco, VP of Canadian banking marketing for Scotiabank. Unfortunately, “54% of Canadians – more than half – said they have received bad financial advice at least once,” he adds.

The advice can come from a wide variety of sources, be it some influencer or old friend on social media, a TV show or even a close family member. “Two percent of adults even said they get financial advice from horoscopes,” Rocco says. That can go wrong for all kinds of reasons – and the bank is hoping to help more Canadians realize this, as well as the value of seeking advice from its experienced professionals.

The campaign is part of Scotia’s overall strategy, developed over the past few years, to move away from more conventional banking advertising that focuses on specific products and services and instead shift that focus to the client. That strategy was also seen at work in its recent “Sleep Advisor” campaign.

“We’ve been moving away from talking about banks and banking and trying to talk more about life and living,” Rocco says. “The industry as a whole – and we’ve been guilty of this in the past as well – shows superficial reflections of peoples’ lives as they pertain to products and offers, but that’s not necessarily about the customer. We’ve been changing that approach.”

The goal, he explains, is to put forward “a level of personalized service” and “build relationships and personal connections” between the bank and its clients as a point of differentiation.

“It’s not just about offering a canned solution – we want to give perspective based upon an empathic understanding of the client’s needs,” Rocco says. “Our customers trust us to hold their money, but we want them to trust us to have real conversations about the money that we’re holding and how to utilize their finances to meet their goals. The new work is meant to convey that.”

The campaign launched with a 60-second spot on TV this past weekend during hockey and the Oscars. A longer, 90-second version is available online, and shorter 30- and 15-second cutdowns are also in market across TV, cinema, OLV, and in-branch. The spots will be followed by OOH and the campaign will run through the remainder of the year.

Scout’s Honour handled production, The Vanity handled post-production and PHD handled media.