Distinctive Asset Management Pays Off for Lloyds

Lloyds Bank

Smart Start


Banking ads. Not a phrase to get the pulse racing. What comes to mind are smiling branch managers, reassuring voiceovers, and much talk of accounts and interest rates. But then there’s Lloyds. Lloyds is a bank that understands that in advertising, there’s one truly valuable asset class: distinctive assets.

Since 2015, Lloyds’ iconic black horse has come out of its logo and onto the screen, in all its stomping, whinnying, galloping life. The bank has made a series of ads that have sometimes been so abstract they’re closer to visual poetry, full of elemental imagery of wild landscapes crossed by surging horses.

In the past this work has scored respectably on Test Your Ad, if not as well as its ambition deserved. But the ads have stood out, and laid the groundwork for “Bike”, Lloyds’ newest exceptional effort.

Lloyds and agency adam&eveDDB have made Lloyds’ top-scoring ad on our database, and the best ad by any bank since 2020. It ties that horse imagery to a specific product, the bank’s Smart Start account for kids aged 11-15, by telling a story about a girl who loves riding her bike, and is helped after a fall by a passing black horse. She ends the ad full of confidence, riding through a wood alongside the galloping herd.

The story isn’t so much about narrative as it is about symbolism – freedom, confidence, gaining skills and grit, which (the ad says at the end) are things their own bank account can help a kid with. Unlike most banking ads – but like most recent Lloyds ads – you feel it on a primal, emotional level. The ad scores a strong 4.4-Stars for long-term effectiveness, with a strong Brand Fluency score too and exceptional short-term Spike.

“Bike” is helped, of course, by the soundtrack. Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” is one of the most popular choices for inspirational playlists around the world. It’s a great example of where licensing a big, well-known, obvious song is absolutely worth the higher cost – the music, images and story fit together beautifully, so you don’t have to know Keys’ song to feel how perfect it is for the ad.

The soundtrack and story are what make this such a resonant ad for viewers and a category-beating one for Lloyds. The previous work in the campaign was visually impressive and made superb use of a distinctive asset. But “Bike” is a considerable step up, giving the work an emotional core which takes the campaign from work viewers admire to an ad they love.

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