Ad Of The Week
Lloyds Brand Mascot Gallops To Four-Stars
The UK banking sector has transformed its approach to advertising over the 15 years since the financial crisis. A historic collapse in public trust has meant far greater emphasis on emotional connection, ‘soft’ brand attributes and distinctive brand assets.
Lloyds was well placed to meet this shift in focus. The black horse has always been one of the most valuable and visible assets in the sector, and its most memorable ads have used horses prominently. The current “By Your Side” campaign is no exception. Lloyds ads sometimes evoke the wildness and freedom of horses but in “By Your Side” it’s the animal’s strength and loyalty that matters.
The “By Your Side” ads are interesting because they work on a far more symbolic and poetic level than most commercial ads. Like one of their obvious inspirations, Guinness’ classic “Surfer” spot, there’s a dreamlike, cinematic quality to them. This one is no exception. A village is awoken by the drumming of hooves, shaking drink glasses in a nod to Jurassic Park. But what’s coming is no prehistoric monster – it’s a herd of black horses, who eventually come to a stop and befriend a girl.
There’s no storyline and only the voiceover to really indicate brand or tone – it’s a sequence of powerful and exciting images which carefully tread a line between fear and wonder. This type of abstract, wholly brand-oriented ad is rare nowadays and there aren’t many successful examples in the Test Your Ad database. Even so Lloyds managed to get a strong 4.0-Star score with “Drumbeat”.
“Drumbeat” is encouraging confirmation that ads which work on the level of imagery and mood can still create strong positive response. For Lloyds to be more literal would have spoiled the impact. But it’s also worth stressing that the brand is able to go this far because of excellent execution and also its decades of work building up the black horse as a brand mascot and asset.