Oct 05 2010

Banking is a serious business & Islamic banking is perceived as strict & rigid - so is there a place for humor?!!

BARWA Bank recently ran a big Ramadan advertising campaign in Doha that drew a smile on every face....
For many, banking is perceived as a very serious and regulated domain that easily dismisses emotional concepts such as humor as a sign of carelessness and irresponsibility. For some, Islamic banking is perceived as an even more serious and dry subject.

As Qatar's newest Islamic banking group, BARWA Bank decided to change this perception by running a major campaign in Doha - a campaign designed to make you think again and smile.

The campaign carries the title "If you think all banks are the same......Think Again".

BARWA Bank argues that although banking certainly needs to be technically serious and professionally managed, there should be no set boundaries about how to communicate a branded banking service. Using this philosophy, in this instance BARWA Bank deliberately avoids the more traditional routes of communicating banking services, favoring more creative ways to differentiate itself.

In taking a humorous approach to brand communication, the campaign effectively portrayed typical banking situations whilst differentiating BARWA Bank 's unique and modern approach.

Hussain Fakhri, BARWA Bank 's Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications commented:

"As we strive to re-write the Islamic banking experience in Qatar, it is important that our products and services are clearly differentiated in a way that is simple and compelling. The introduction of humor helps to change people's perceptions of the way everyday banking can be conducted beyond the more traditional norms. After all, modern banking is all about choice and ease to the consumer."

The campaign scenario is about a bank customer who in each episode tries to engage his bank for a service or a product. However his entire attempts end unsuccessfully - but in an ironically humorous way.

All the four episodes take place in a bank that still lives in the past (in this case the 1970's). The depicted old furniture, primitive detailing, dated banking equipment and the attitude of the banking staff all indicate that the bank in question is going nowhere.

This of course is the direct opposite of BARWA Bank 's philosophy, image and customer approach. Blended with humor throughout, the campaign brings a completely new flavor and approach to the rules of advertising engagement for this industry.

BARWA Bank believes in change - and this is especially so when considering the demands of today's banking customer. Naturally, without change, it is difficult to cope and adapt to the future. This message is regularly used by BARWA Bank throughout its brand design and communications. As an innovator, BARWA Bank has instilled an enormous amount of creativity in its advertising and marketing approach, liberating themselves & the market from routine banking advertising.

The campaign covered the full spectrum of TV, Cinema, Print & outdoor media mix. The episodes were produced in Egypt and directed by BARWA Bank 's advertising agency, P&A.

P&A Creative Director Ghassan Hamadeh added:

"As a creative agency, it was extremely rewarding to work with BARWA Bank on this campaign. Their refreshing approach to the use of irony and humor within a banking context successfully allows these adverts to stand out from the crowd. We are delighted to help change the way traditional Islamic banking is perceived in Qatar - and to rightfully position BARWA Bank as 'the future's bank'."

The overall campaign message, "Think Again", clearly reminds audiences that with BARWA Bank you can bank with ease, simplicity and efficiency in a modern environment.........a world away from the other more traditional banking experiences.


About BARWA Bank
BARWA Bank is the newest Islamic bank in the State of Qatar., established in Doha and licensed & regulated by the Qatar Central Bank.

With an authorised starting capital of QR 2.5 billion, BARWA Bank provides a full range of Islamic banking services including retail, corporate and commercial banking, private banking, real estate finance, structured finance, investments and asset management.

© Press Release 2010

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