Cannes Lions

A Long Way From Ordinary







In 2017 we were tasked with convincing a new generation, the coveted millennial market, that we were the bank for them.

Focus groups showed a strong reaction to this generation living differently shaped lives to the one above.

But when we tested a version of this aspirational go-getting bohemian lifestyle, our groups rebelled - they didn’t want to be constantly hustling, and they didn’t want a boring old bank stereotyping them.

So rather than portraying a typical ‘beard toting, craft beer brewing, tattooed’ millennial, we chose an anonymous astronaut, moving weightlessly through a world stuck in routine. Throughout the campaign we used the astronaut as a metaphor to embody the restless, 'life less ordinary' spirit of our audience.

Outside of brand comms, we used direct response to build first direct’s playful tone of voice, always turning what could be boring offers into Maker insight rich executions.


16 different OOH executions, all based around London, the main hub for where our audience live, work and socialise.

Railside and roadside 6 sheets throughout commuter journeys in the first 4 weeks of September 2017, to catch the post-holiday sorting of finances.

We also clustered all 16 executions (underground 4 sheets) in one Old Street station takeover (an area synonymous with our audience) to create high impact for the first 2 weeks of September.

In Jan 2018 we re-ran the executions – again these were all based in London and featured roadside 6sheets and Tube Car panels, citywide, and 16sheets and Digital Escalator Panels in 18 underground stations including Old Street and Brixton. Again, this was focused on catching our audience on their commutes and where they hung out.


Our sales targets were beaten, adding over 90,000 new customers, with the brand campaign contributing an extra 3% to this (impressive for a non DR campaign.)

first direct hit its highest brand awareness and consideration scores for two years.

And amongst our target audience, the Yougov score for positive brand impressions increased 15%, the ‘would recommend’ increased 21% and purchase intent rose 29%.

With first direct being rated the number one bank for ‘doing things differently.’

32% of our target audience said the TV made them think differently about first direct (benchmark: 17%).

OOH: The London based OOH campaign resulted in a 19% uplift in online searches in London for ‘first direct’, compared to other regions. 29% said the OOH made them consider first direct in the future (benchmark: 17%)

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2021, SANLAM

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