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Leaking and chopping in mBank’s latest campaign

December 26, 2009

It’s time to write about the brand that I’ve been working for lately. It’s mBank – the first and the biggest internet bank in Poland that was launched back in November 2000. Now it’s the third biggest retail bank in Poland and it boasts over 2.4 million clients.  mBank offers a wide range of on-line products and services: personal accounts, saving accounts, deposits, credit cards, cash loans, mortgage loans,  investment funds, mobile telephone service (MVNO), car insurance, travel insurance, real estate insurance, and much more.

The key to mBank’s success is the strong, bold and distinctive brand image epitomized by the bizarre flower in its logo and the free-of-charge personal account called eKONTO which has been the core product for acquiring new clients over the years.  mBank is the “rebel” among other banks in Poland – it’s the one brand that always challenged the status quo set up by the big traditional “marble” banks. Therefore mBank’s advertising has always been very different from anything else done by other Polish banks.  In 2005 mBank started a communication line called “You don’t have to trust our advertising. Check for yourself at” – this made mBank look transparent and it channelled the traffic to mBank’s website.

The latest mBank’s campaign – that I’ve been occupied with for the last half a year – continues the format but in a slightly different manner. All three new TV spots follow the pattern in which a person in a surprising predicament calls up another person for help or advice.  The other person turns out to be mBank’s client and obviously knows what to do…  All the commercials are spiced up with a unique absurd sense of humour.  Now have a look at how it works in the first TV spot for eKONTO which was aired in Ocober and November 2009 both on TV and in movie theatres across Poland.  The focus is on the internet money transfers which are free-of-charge at mBank.

It was quite a surprise for many people that mBank cast two old ladies in its commercial. Typically mBank is regarded as a sort of “students’ bank” – the image it has earned when it was launched in 2000 and only very young people were open-minded and brave enough at the time to trust such a novelty as internet-banking.  This has changed over time – now the average mBank client is about 35 years of age. The old ladies caught the attention, but also conveyed the simple message that on-line banking is easy, convenient and most importantly – cheap!  The TV campaign was supported by many other media: radio, internet, outdoor and ambient.  The common theme of the eKONTO campaign was the leaking of money from the bank account to which the free-of-charges eKONTO is the solution.

eKONTO billboard with a 3D hole / copy: Is money leaking from your account? Open the free-of-charge eKONTO

eKONTO billboard with a 3D whole / copy: Is money leaking from your account? Open the free-of-charge eKONTO


The outdoor campaign included standard billboards (both frontlit and backlit types), bus-shelter citylights and also some unstandard billboards with a 3D leaking whole that was made to look very realistic.

eKONTO's advertising sticker at cinema toilet


The ambient campaign was also playing around the leaking theme, so the ads appeared in places like fontains at some popular shopping malls, at toilette mirrors in cinemas,  fitness clubs and swimming pools.

eKONTO's ambient ads in a shopping-mall's fountain and at a fitness club's toilet mirror


We even put our little ads about the leaking from the bank account at petrol stations across Poland – we advertised also the car insurances at the same time.

mBank's ambient ads at Orlen's chain of petrol stations: eKONTO and car insurance


The second TV spot that was aired in November promoted mBank’s open on-line platform for buying and selling investment funds called the Supermarket of Investment Funds. It offers the access to over 240 different investment funds and it’s provision-free.  Here we have a modern mother who is keen on computer games and her helpless and old-fashioned son who prefers to invest his money in diamond earrings for his wife, but to protect his investment he has to put them into a safe-deposit box.  The son phones his mother for help as his investment got stuck in the safe.

The third and last part of the campaign promoted the car insurance – mBank offers its clients the direct on-line platform called Supermarket of Car Insurances where they can easily choose and purchase car insurance that is very cheap (mBank gives the Best Price Guaranty, so if they find a cheaper offer they can claim back the difference in price). The mBank’s clients can pay for their car insurance in convenient low monthly rates as well as transfer their discounts from their previous insurance company.  The TV spot, aired in November and December 2009, presents a clumsy driver who suddenly discovers four big lumberjacks with sharp axes in his car. Obviously he is horror-struck and calls up his best friend for advice …

So it turns out that the sinister lumberjacks represent the poor driver’s greedy insurance company that rips him off on the price of his current car insurance. There can be only one solution to escape the lumberjacks – choose the Best Price Insurance at mBank the next time.  It is worth to mention that all three TV commercials were directed by Tomasz Konecki, a popular Polish film director responsible for several box-office hit comedies like: Ciało (2003),  Lejdis (2007) and Testosteron (2007).

mBank's billboards with 3D axe for car insurances / copy: Do they rip you off on car insurance? Buy the cheapest insurance at mBank


The lumberjack’s axes became the leitmotif of the car insurance’s internet, outdoor and ambient campaign that supported the TV airings.  The slogan of the campaign is a wordplay in Polish and has the verb “to chop” that can also mean “to rip off”.  There was a billboard campaign which again included a portion of unstandard billboards with a 3D axe hammered to it.  This was an extremely eye-catching solution that also generated a lot of buzz.  The axes were also used for an ambient campaign on 100 taxi-cars in 4 biggest cities of Poland.  The big axe was plunged onto the taxi roof and the sticker-ad on the rear window explained everything.

Taxi-ambient campaign for mBank's car insurance


Advertising Agency:   Ambasada Brand Communication
Media Agency:    MPG Warsaw
Director of TV spots:   Tomasz Konecki
7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2009 02:31

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Annette permalink
    January 4, 2010 03:55

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe!🙂. I’ll go and read some more!

  3. December 3, 2010 01:17

    Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  4. June 7, 2011 08:44

    Great article! You are a specialist in it. Take a look to my site and tell me what do you think about it.


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