Classic Campaigns – A Bank and Poetry !

April 19, 2011 at 5:42 am 4 comments

Brand : Union Bank of Switzerland

Tagline : ‘Here today, Here tomorrow’

Campaign slogan : ‘Thoughts that transcend time’

Method used : The campaign by ad guru Neil French featured well-known stage actors reading various famous inspirational English poems. The campaign began in ’96-’97 and ran for a few years. As per available information, it was quite successful.

I loved these ads for various reasons :

One, the manner in which the tag-line was reinterpreted and executed – if the bank wanted to stand for ‘classy’, ‘timeless’, ‘solid / trustworthy’ and ‘(keeps your money) secure always’, these ads deliver that message

Two, the ads stand out from the clutter due to the unusual execution

Finally, on a personal level, I also liked these ads due to the sheer whimsy of having two forms of communication – advertising and poetry – rolled into one

You can take a look at a few of these ads by clicking on the links below :

 If   (Harvey Kietel’s rendition of ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling)

Invictus   (‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley, rendered by Alan Bates)

Bag of Tools   (Maggie Smith rendering R.L.Sharpe’s ‘Bag of Tools’)

Say not the Struggle   (Paul Scofield rendering Arthur Hugh Clough’s ‘Say not the Struggle’)

Though given the declining popularity of poetry, I am not sure how many viewers would enjoy and appreciate such an ad today. What do you think? Take our poll or leave us a comment and tell us whether you liked / didn’t like the ads and why.

p.s. In order to read the poem lyrics, click on the links below :



Bag of Tools

Say not the Struggle



Entry filed under: Advertisements, Branding, Communication. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. RJ  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I really liked the ads. In the flashy, ADD-targeting ads which are out there this definitely stands out. However, do you think this is the kind of ad which they could play over and over and still keep the viewers attention? I did not find it as engaging visually.

    These ads remind of the American Express ads in which noted celebrities (like Wes Craven and Robert Di Nero) are narrating to a video sequence. Those definitely has a better impact than the UBS ads because it is visually engaging as well.

    The AMEX ad links are as below:

    I would also like to refer to a film – HOWL (starring James Franco). It paired up two mediums – poetry and animation. The animation sequences were whimsical and played into the experience of the poem. I think that might have been a better way of making the UBS ads (I have the DVD of HOWL in case you would like to see it).



    • 2. RJ  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Correction – this is a Wes Anderson ad not to be confused with Wes Craven who is known for slasher films.


    • 3. escapevelocityblog  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Hi Rahul,
      Just dashing off a quick note to say thanks for your comments. Will go through the ad you have mentioned and revert on that in a little while.
      And yes, please lend me your DVD of HOWL – now I am enthu to watch it too.

      p.s Since this is a long comment with lots of interesting links that I think other people would like to read too, can we actually run your comment on the main page of our blog as a guest contribution ? Else many people mahy miss out on this info.



      • 4. RJ  |  April 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm

        Sorry for the delayed response but please feel free to run the comment on the main page of the EV blog. In case you would want to link more or different AMEX ads from the same campaign they are available on YouTube.


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