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In 1965 the first of the more radical changes to Martins’ advertising begins to be noticed. Beryl Evans, the first appointed female member of staff in the history of the Bank is at the helm of Advertising Department, and it shows -  The young, carefree and most importantly WAGE EARNING girl clutching a bundle of Pound notes, the lady jetting off on holiday with a man trying to get her luggage into the car, even two “upside down” schoolgirls talking about savings, are all causing a stir.  This leads to people from the (shall we say) more traditional parts of society to question the value of spending so much money on what appear to be a few pictures, and even fewer words.  In an attempt to convince staff of the power of this type of advertising, Martins Bank Magazine publishes the feature below, and poses the question:

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1938 Kellys Ad.jpgbefore seeking to answer this question it is well to consider the purposes of advertising in general. An advertiser may wish to promote or increase his business or he may wish to make an announcement to the public. He may achieve the former by making his name more widely known or by persuading the public that his product is as good as if not better than that of his competitors. Either way he hopes to obtain new business and to maintain the confidence of existing customers. An announcement will aim to tell people about a new product, a new service, a change of address, the opening of new premises, the beginning of a new venture. Before the last war the only bank advertisements comprised the display of half-yearly balance sheets and occasional support for certain professional journals. In the last decade the banks have become increasingly advertising-conscious, realising that a potential market for new business exists among those not previously banking-minded but who are now enjoying increased incomes.

 

1959 An Account at Martins Bank.jpgBecause it is harder to sell a service than a product bank advertising poses its own problems. In particular there is the need of the banks to popularise themselves in order to attract this vast new market while at the same time retaining their dignity and the respect of existing customers. For this reason a bank's advertisements may not appeal to its staff but then it is not intended that they should. Many erroneous pre-conceived notions regarding banks have had to be dispelled, for example that one had to be wealthy to have a bank account and that bankers were staid and unapproachable. The process is slow but great strides are being made, primarily by the design of new premises and the introduction of new services but also by the bank's 'new look' advertising. The best way to reach these potential customers can be the subject of much discussion but, acting on the information provided by their advertising agencies, the banks are today concentrating a considerable portion of their advertising budgets on one form of mass media —the popular press.

 

image009Half-page advertisements in national daily and Sunday newspapers are not uncommon and recently one bank took a whole-page space in the Daily Express which, for the one day's edition, would have cost more than £5,000. A glance through the newspapers at the size and frequency of a bank's advertisements gives an idea of the cost of its advertising. One bank at least is reputed to have an annual advertis­ing budget well in excess of half-a-million pounds. Although the national press absorbs the main weight of our Bank's advertising the field is considerably wider. Our advertisements appear in more than 600 publications of infinite variety, the number of insertions in each publication varying from one to twelve in any year. Over thirty different advertisements are in current use publicising services to exporters, farmers, commerce, private individuals and students; to announce the opening of new branches, the attendance of our mobile branches at shows and exhibitions, changes of address and business hours, staff vacancies; and to support special supplements and souvenir brochures.  Most of the publications in which we advertise are chosen when the annual campaign is planned. Although the ultimate decision is that of the advertiser all banks and indeed most advertisers use agencies to advise them and to conduct their campaign. An agency is essential: once the advertiser has stated what he wishes to achieve, a good deal of research has to be carried out 'in the field'; sales psychology has to be applied in planning the type of advertisement, its presentation and copy writing; and expert advice is required about where the advertisements are to appear—the selection of media, about which the agency has to maintain up-to-date records, and the necessary machinery for booking space where and when required. Once the preliminary discussions have taken place the agency can plan the campaign in detail. The pro­posals, usually covering twelve months, are then presented and when agreement is reached the agency begins further preparation.

 

MB Post Card.jpgFor newspaper advertising artists who are skilled in drawing and have a wide knowledge of typefaces, layout design and photography, join with copy writers to prepare the actual advertise­ments. Then follows the technical task of producing the blocks for distribution to the newspapers and periodicals.  The administrative link between agency and advertiser is, in our case, Advertising Department at Head Office which is additionally responsible for press relations.  This work includes preparing the special features which appear in one or more newspapers every time a new branch opens or premises are modernised. The size of the space allocated by the newspaper for the features varies from a third of a page to a whole page and some­times more. Other forms of advertising include counter plaques, the mobile branch showcard and display material for our stands at exhibitions—advertising on home ground, as it were. External advertising includes the individual advertisements appearing on notice boards which are installed at many universities, technical colleges and similar establishments throughout the country.

 

starting a business in britainLast but by no means least of our methods of advertising the Bank and its services are the forty-five or so booklets and leaflets produced by or through Advertising Department. Keeping the contents accurate and up-to-date can be as time-consuming as preparing a new publication. Many a story could be told of the difficulties encountered in trying to achieve a particular photographic effect for a publication. Is it worth it ? Is the time and money well spent ? How can one know if advertising is increasing business? These questions and many more have been asked by advertisers and the public at large since advertising began and will continue to be asked while it exists. The advertiser with a product to sell can find comfort if his sales rise but a bank selling only service has no such yardstick; a man will not put on his hat and rush down the street to open an account at our Bank merely because an advertisement suggests that he should do so. However, many requests for the Bank's publications are received every day in response to our advertisements, and any magazine advertisement incorporating a cut-out coupon requesting a copy of An Account at Martins Bank brings constant letters. If these examples can be taken as a guide then they may well account for the fact that all banks are tending to increase their expenditure on advertising. What of those forms of advertisement over which Advertising Department has no control—the Bank's premises, its staff, its signs, letter-heads and cheques? They all play their part, particularly the staff who are largely responsible for the follow-up to any advertise­ments. Seeing that a newly-advertised booklet is dis­played in a tidy counter dispenser at the earliest opportunity is just one of the ways in which the staff helps to corroborate the claim of the Bank's advertise­ments that Martins Bank provides a service second to none.

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