5 min read

9 Excellent Bank Ads that Give a Lesson in Marketing

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
May 29, 2024

Every year we make a roundup of the best bank ads. 2023 is not an exception. Were there some awesome ads for financial institutions? Absolutely. We’d like to take a look at the previous year’s best bank marketing campaigns and give you some creative food to consume. Because it’s the ancient wisdom that says that looking at the marketing efforts of others inspires your own.

Here are the best bank ads of 2022-2023, so sit back and prepare yourself for an explosion of financial creativity.

1. Karaoke Date: Active Cash Credit Card - Wells Cargo

Why: just 15 seconds of running time but a whole bag of emotions. Now that’s amazing storytelling. There are two things going on in the Karaoke Date of Wells Fargo. The background voice tells you about the advantages of the new Active Cash Credit Card with the cashback option. All while our heroes are having a date at, you guessed it, karaoke. The man kneels, and the woman negatively nods in anticipation of the big proposal. But there’s a relief, the man only wanted to tie the shoes. Everyone’s happy (we guess?) and the background voice enters the scene by suggesting using the cashback money to buy shoes without laces.

2. Citi: New Black Wall Streets

Why: we love when the bank ads get cinematic. Citi went all the way with this great campaign featuring the one and only Brian Tyree Henry (an Academy Award-nominated actor and main Atlanta TV show protagonist). He tells the story of the rise and fall of Black Wall Street. Although the former Black Wall Street was burned to the ground, there’s hope for a new beginning. And Citi brings that hope. 

On an emotional level, such an ad definitely differs from the regular fluffy financial institution ads. It’s powerful, it’s visual, and it sends a clear message of change. That’s why it’s on our best bank advertising campaigns list.

3. E*TRADE Commercial - Astronaut - Morgan Stanley

Why: throwing shade has long been used in advertising. Morgan Stanley takes it to outer space (quite literally) with their latest commercial for the E*TRADE platform. The shade is thrown at the retirement system. The ad follows a group of astronauts on the moon observing the Earth from the distance. Two young fellows are excited to see our planet. 

However, there’s an older man who is full of regret. His woe lies in the fact that he hadn’t invested when he had a chance and now he’s stuck on the Moon with bitter living prospects of late retirement. Quite a bold way to make a point but we see you, Morgan Stanley, you’re on the list. 

4. Museum - Bank of America

Why: have a sophisticated financial tool to sell? Show how simple it is. Bank of America does that perfectly for their Merrill investment platform by taking the action to the natural museum. The adults there are all looking at their phones. But it’s not Instagram or TikTok, they’re actually investing. The ad goes on to explain what exactly each of the adults is doing and it all seems quite uncomplicated. 

We love the pacing here, the choice of actors, and the fun factor. That’s refreshing to see for an often boring banking marketing sector.

5. Marcus - Goldman Sachs

Why: this one is about the perfect celebrity casting. Rosamund Pike has something trustworthy in her persona and when the actress says that Marcus is a good investment platform for your money there’s no other choice but to believe her. Also, the aesthetics are on point too. There’s a retro vibe to the commercial and it’s easy on the eye. The Pike’s stare at the end of the ad makes you even guilty for not checking out Goldman Sachs’ financial tools. And that’s a success.

6. Wealth Management - Rise Above the Noise - J.P. Morgan

Why: what an Easter eggs-filled bank ad this is. Hands down one of the coolest financial commercials of recent years, Rise Above the Noise takes the premise of complicated finance-related lingo and takes it to a very creative resolution. The woman protagonist is all of us when hearing news about crypto, loans, downpayments, or options. The setting is a hotel, and the atmosphere is borderline apocalyptic. The special mention goes to the cheerful Akita doggo who screams “to the moon” paying homage to the intense Elon Musk-fueled Twitter crypto craze of the 2010s. 

But don’t get it wrong, the cacophony is only in the plot. The ad does its job excellently promoting the Wealth Management service by J.P. Morgan that is destined to help you to “rise above the noise”. 

7. Meet Jessica - Truist

Why: Truist chooses a humane approach with their Meet Jessica campaign. This allows for a much more powerful emotional connection. The ad tells the story of Jessica, a teammate of the bank. We see the 10-year-old Jessica sheltering her best friend from the car splashing water with her umbrella. That may be a trivial story and quite a cheesy one too. But there’s something about childhood flashbacks that reach out to your heart. That’s why we love this ad. 

8. Venture X Card - Multiple Taylors - Capital One

Why: yes, that’s the American sweetheart Taylor Swift in a bank ad. In fact, there are many versions of Taylor throughout this colorful and feel-good commercial. Capital One knows exactly what it’s doing and the famous singer plays along very well. This ad wins the “best celebrity choice” award from us. 

9. Audition Savings - Capital One Bank

Why: what can we do, Capital One does the best celebrity ads in the banking business right now. That’s why there are not one but two entries by this institution. The legendary Guns’N’Roses rocker Slash plays himself in this one. He even smiles at one point, a true miracle of the advertising business. The plot is simple yet it works. Slash plays a solo of Sweet Child O’Mine on the audition and gets the spot. We’re happy for him and we’re happy that Capital Bank managed to pull it off. 

Our Previous List of 9 Creative Bank Ads 2022

Best bank ads are those that resonate with you on an emotional level. Let’s face it, banks are not hotels, restaurants, or amusement parks. They are dealing with one of the most sensitive aspects of our lives, they deal with money. That’s why when it comes to advertising there should be taste and a sense of relevance. Because probably nobody wakes up in the morning thinking “hmm, I will go to a bank today, I am so excited about this”. 

Bank ads that we gathered for this article know the rules of the game well and utilize awesome marketing techniques to present their services to clients. You will find here some of the best bank advertising campaigns of the last few years. 

So let’s start with this list of the best bank ads and take notes on how to do the marketing the right way.

1. Can’t Stop Banking - Bank of America

It might get tricky when bank commercials meet humor. Money is no laughing matter and for some using the bank is a mere necessity, not something they chose to do in the first place. This ad by Bank of America checks all the boxes. It’s entertaining, there are some solid gags throughout, the scene is well-set and it highlights the offer. A perfect amalgam of comedy and banking. But in order to pull it off, you’d need a cinematic approach that may prove quite costly. 

2. For the Love of Progress - Citi

Overwhelmingly beautiful music drives this 30-second piece by Citi that is definitely among the best bank advertising campaigns in a short form. Three stories of three different groups of clients. Citi bank is a place where things are done differently. And a dramatic envelope to all of it. As a result, you have a powerful ad that both promotes Citi services and makes it stand out with its positioning. 

3. “Lucked Out” with Regina King - Wells Fargo

It’s hard to go wrong with such an incredible performer as Academy Award winner Regina King and Wells Fargo knows that well. Although it’s hard to imagine the celebrated actress getting her doors locked out in some ordinary suburban house, the ad is relatable and that’s the best thing about it. Ms. King decides to spend 3 hours shopping and cruising the suburbia on a bike (using her Master Card with a cashback of course) and all of us would do the exact same thing. Relatability is a hard thing to achieve when you’re a bank, Wells Fargo teaches us a lesson here. 

4. Personal Loans with No Fees. Ever. - Goldman Sachs

Rosamund Pike slays in a new campaign for Goldman Sachs. The Gone Girl star takes all the focus and you want to have what she’s having. And what she turns out to be having is the new personal loans program from the bank called Marcus. That is the celebrity power we want in the ads for financial institutions. 

5. E*TRADE Baby “Off The Grid” - Morgan Stanley 

When 30 seconds feel like a full-fledged action flick that makes you want to see the rest, you know the bank has done an awesome job with their ad. The helicopter, the quality, the location, the talking babies. Sure, this kind of advertising costs a penny. But it’s not only the scale, it’s the story. Which in this case is masterfully written and directed. So kudos to the bank. 

6. Tiny Pies - U.S. Bank 

An ad that gives loans a feel-good attitude? We’re in. The U.S. Bank creates Wes Andersonian visuals to promote its services. It’s a smart strategy of presenting the bank as a helping hand that will be there for you in the toughest moments for the business. The actresses are also great at dealing with loan-related emotions. 

7. Set yourself free - Startling Bank

One of the most visually appealing bank ads on the list, Startling Bank’s new campaign is gorgeous. You literally can’t take your eyes off the action here. Brilliantly filmed and acted, it tells a story of breaking free from the queue in the bank, a dream come true for many bank goers. Although, to be honest, we expected the protagonist to wake up from the dream in the end. It didn’t happen, she just flew away. 

8. Care is coming to banking - Truist

Truist gets cute and weird in their latest campaign about care. And we love weird things in advertising. It takes the everyday woes like a broken tire or a shopping cart hitting the car and introduces an unlikely character that helps to solve them. The character is quite hard to describe, it’s a rolling ball made of plush toys that sometimes has… hands? Anyway, it is a beautiful piece of bank advertising and easily our favorite video. 

9. Christmas Commercial with John Travolta as Santa Claus and Samuel Jackson - Capital One

Getting John Travolta to star as Santa in a bank commercial is cool enough. But adding one and only Samuel L. Jackson is a killer move. There's chemistry here and fantastic execution. May well be one of the most entertaining pieces of celebrity advertisement ever created. In the banking sector, at least. 

Our Previous List of 9 Best Bank Ads

best bank ads

While at the first glance banks may seem like formal and boring financial institutions, bank advertising is where you surprisingly find an explosion of creativity. There is a fierce competition of wit, fun, puns, tears, and usefulness. And it's hard not to love it. 

We've collected the most interesting bank ads that you can learn from. One of the most important takeaways from the whole bank commercial landscape analysis is that storytelling matters. Whether it's a 30-second video or a 3-minute feature song, banks rely heavily on top-notch storytelling to make their bank ads stand out and stun. And it's a delightful process to observe. As a result, we can see many extremely creative entries that can easily inspire all the marketing people out there. 

Of course, it's important to know your budget limits. While some banks being multi-billion corporations can afford to have a superstar talking with their new card in hand, many commercials show that it is not the celebrity power that sells, it's the story. To paraphrase it, we've seen some star-studded bank ads that don't quite work because they're not relatable enough. On the other hand, we've also discovered some low-budget gems that hold your attention from start to finish. That's why when thinking about bank advertising it is important to think of telling a good story first. 

Without further ado, let's enter the world of big and small finances through these expertly crafted bank ads with Kitcast.

1. JPMorgan Chase & Co. - With Freedom Unlimited, You're Always Earning

Kevin Hart in a bank ad? Yes. At least the way that the US JPMorgan Chase & Co. is doing it. In the video, Hart is playing a regular guy shopping, getting a haircut, fuelling the car, choosing donuts, well, doing all the things we mortals usually do. And it’s relatable enough to feel sympathy both for the actor and for the bank using him as a spokesperson in this charmingly funny ad that just works. No talent is wasted and it’s great to watch. 

2. Wells Fargo - Lulu and Lobo

Casting animals in ads is almost always a winner move. "Why not starring two cute dogs in a commercial for our Home Mortgage program?" thought at Wells Fargo and did just that. We can confidently say that it was a great idea as the video is amazing. Maybe even funnier than the new Doolittle movie. Because the animals also talk here. The male dog Lobo had a dream of moving to a new home and he recounts it to his dog-lover (?) Lulu. As absurd as it may seem, the whole thing is, in fact, heartwarming and touching on a light, cute smiley level. And don't forget, that is a home mortgage ad. 

3. Bank of America - The Power to Be Me

It is very powerful when a mere commercial becomes a statement. In the case of this Bank of America ad, it's all about inclusivity. The video shows different people starting their day to come to their workplace (which is Bank of America). All of it is accompanied by the amazing track from 2020 Grammy-nominated Austin band Black Pumas called "Colors". Every element combined creates a beautiful bank commercial that showcases the values of the company and does it in style. 

4. Citi: The Moment - It's About Time

It takes a quick look at the like/dislike YouTube counter to understand that the video you're going to watch may be controversial. With almost 5 million views and 2k of dislikes against 613 likes, Citi creates a divisive piece of content, the one that raises an important issue and resonates. The problem in question is the gender pay and leadership gap. The format is quite unusual: the children hear the gap stats and react to it. 

One of the most touching moments of the video is when the photographer that does the talking bursts out in tears when a girl tells her that "there's more to us than just looking pretty." While it sure acquired many admirers and unfortunately haters, it is a bald move from such a big corporation as Citi to proudly take a stance on this issue and fiercely defend it. 

5. U.S. Bank - Hard work works: Say it, do it

Cinema approach is always something that helps to create the most effective bank ads. U.S. Bank opts for it in its "Hard work works: Say it, do it" video that tells a story of a girl that goes from dreaming of becoming a ballerina to opening her own juice store with a help of the bank. Her life flashes before our eyes in 30 seconds and it's hard not to be moved by the energy and sentimentality of the ad. Great piece of cinematic bank advertising it is, U.S. Bank. 

6. TIAA - Birdwatcher

Often it pays off being a little less serious. Probably the most hilarious ad from our list, this TIAA entry tells a story of a birdwatcher that is about to shoot a picture of a woodpecker he's been searching for a long time. However, in a comic turn of events, it doesn't run as smoothly as planned. The whole bank ad is about the Guaranteed Monthly Income for Life. Birdwatching and banking? We're loving the approach!

7.  American Express small business ad

Not many brands can afford to utilize the star power of the Broadway household name Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton musical. American Express is one of those companies that can. And they do it very effectively showing Miranda as a neighborhood local, a "regular", an extra down-to-earth kind of a guy. And it's adorable to watch. Lin-Manuel even sings in the process, however, just to make a teaching point. Anyway, it's refreshing to see a bank ad that promotes small things and support micro level using celebrity presence rather than going over the top. 

8. Fifth Third Bank - Nachos

In a Super Bowl-level of advertising ingenuity, the Fifth Third Bank uses nachos to make a point. It feels half like The Big Short financial explainers and half like a viral celebrity ad. However, it's about real banking and the actor is not a famous person there so the whole thing looks more relatable and fun. Needless to say, the nachos look delicious and give you a strong urge to shop for a pack or two immediately after finishing with the video.   

9. Citizens Bank - Feel It (You Got It)

Is it often that the music and the banking worlds intersect? Not to our memory. Citizens Bank did something unique with their Made Ready campaign, they partnered with legendary hip-hop collective The Roots and Questlove to produce a whole new song. That's is really some mindblowing level of banking marketing where creativity is materialized in a song thus the whole campaign becomes not only a marketing phenomenon but a cultural one too. The song is really good by the way. 

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