Ad of the Week: Citadel shows how to invest in life
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Citadel Wealth Management’s new TVC, by Bain & Bunkell and director Dean Blumberg of Bouffant*, is a sobering message that reminds us about the important things in life.
I’ve always believed that success in life is not dependent on mere financial success but getting the balance between work, family, play and self-development right. We often hear the adage that nobody on their deathbed says they wish they had spent more time at work — there is more to life than just building a career and accumulating wealth. This is the underlying message of Bain & Bunkell’s latest cinematic ad for Citadel Wealth Management, aimed at high-nett worth individuals. Typically you’d find this market in the upper echelons of the corporate world but they’re also entrepreneurs who’ve been successful in their ventures, and who want to preserve their wealth for the benefit of their descendants, or to leave a legacy that survives them.
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The Citadel campaign is all about leaving something behind that is about more than just wealth and is a creative and meaningful reminder about all the important things in life. “Remarkable Life” takes place at a funeral. A eulogy is being delivered by a man who we assume was a business associate of the deceased. “Michael always gave the best stock tips,” he says. “Usually over an expensive lunch. And who can forget those classic sports cars?”
The camera tracks past a big picture of the deceased, and various members of the congregation until it comes to rest on a man whose face matches that of the picture: Michael.
He turns to the camera and says, “Well, that wasn’t much of a life. Let’s try it again.”
There is a movie projector skip-frame effect, and we’re back to the point we started, with the eulogy. “Michael’s international business often kept him away from his home.”
Michael addresses the camera once more: “I’ve got to do better.”
Again, there is a skip-frame effect, and we’re back to the eulogy: “Michael was always good with money.”
Now he’s starting to look quite disappointed and frustrated. This time he just gives the camera an eye-roll, and the skip-frame effect takes us back once more.
The eulogy has changed once more. “Mike’s bottom line,” the man says, “was his family.” This time the tone of voice has changed, and there is a sense of genuine sadness in his voice. “He always found time to take his son fishing, and his daughters to ballet,” he continues. The camera focuses on the family, as they share in the memory. The camera tracks back to where Michael was sitting previously, as the tender, heartfelt speech continues. But this time there is only a shaft of light where he was.
The screen fades to black, to be replaced with the text, “Don’t just use your money to make more money”. This is followed by the slogan, “Reach your remarkable”.
There are several versions of the ad. One changes the dialog of the eulogy to talk about Michael as a man who enjoyed adventure and lived life to the full. There are also shorter versions, and agency strategist, Simon Bunkell. informs us that there are actually four endings, to keep the story fresh, which we’ll see being rolled out over time.
The message seems a little counterintuitive — after all, investment firms such as Citadel are there primarily to help people grow their wealth, with the principle of “Don’t work for your money; let your money work for you.” But the deeper message comes through strongly, and this is where Citadel is being really smart: it embraces the idea that you can achieve a balance in life, and, most importantly, Citadel is there to help you achieve this.
The ad is beautifully shot, with cinematic production value. The stone chapel, with shafts of light streaming down from the high windows, the tasteful flower arrangements, the perfectly cast actors, the sedate camera movement, all combine to create an immersive movie-like experience that is entertaining and engaging.
If this doesn’t take top honours at local and international awards, then I’ll be very surprised.
Congratulations to Citadel and everyone involved with this superbly crafted piece of work. It sets a benchmark for investment advertising and signals a smart approach to what must be a very discerning market.
Agency: Bain & Bunkell
Chief creative officer: Jonathan Bain
Creative director: Sheldon Stewart
Copywriter: Billy Rivers
Strategist: Simon Bunkell
Agency producer: Caz Friedman
Account director: Vicky Moodley
Production company: Bouffant*
Director: Dean Blumberg
Producer: Channelle Critchfield
DOP: Tim Pike
Post-production company: Deliverance Post Production
Editor: Anthony Lee Martin
Sound mix: Produce Sound
Grade: Rushes (London)
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at email@example.com.