Let’s face it, even at the best of times, banks make for challenging clients.
Putting aside all the legal requirements that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has put in place, you will have countless hurdles to leap over as your precious concepts work their way through a very complex and unwieldy approval process. By the time every t has been crossed and every i dotted, little if anything is left of your original concept.
Which is why little real bank work ever makes it to a creative person’s portfolio.
This outdoor execution, promoting the use of Citibank Credit Cards throughout the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), is, I think, one of the few exceptions to the above rule.
There were a few things going for it.
1. There was very little time – 3 weeks – in which to approve and execute it.
2. As a result, approval became the responsibility of just one individual as opposed to the usual countless layers of bureaucracy it would normally have to go through.
3. The concept – transforming Orchard and Somerset MRT stations into what looked like department stores – was literally sold to the client as a rough sketch (and believe me, because I drew it this was a really rough sketch) at a coffee shop table.
4. This meant that we could refine the concept as we executed it. So instead of having to put all our efforts into a really beautiful initial visual, we could focus on making the final product as good as possible without being distracted by an over finished and thus limited initial concept.
Of course this narrow time frame meant everything was put on an accelerated schedule – photography, digital imaging and final layout. Over the next three weeks nobody slept very much and weekends were completely burned. There was the usual last minute dramas, screaming matches, hysterical tears and panic attacks. And that was just me.
But the result was an outdoor campaign that really broke the mold of the way banks typically advertised.
And it helped earn Citibank their first ever regional bank marketing award.