ASA Adjudication on Clydesdale Bank plc
Clydesdale Bank plc t/a
22 August 2012
Number of complaints:
A TV ad for Yorkshire Bank, featured a man walking down a street, who said "Bank. It's become a four letter word. But there is a bank that's always seen itself as a five letter word. That's always been local. Always stayed human. And always been sound. Shouldn't a bank like that also be yours?" A voice-over said "Join us. Yorkshire Bank. Your local bank."
The complainant challenged whether the claim "your local bank" was misleading, because she believed Yorkshire Bank was part of the National Australia Bank Group and was based in Glasgow.
Yorkshire Bank (YB) said the ad campaign centred around their branch network and their involvement in local communities. They advised the ad was only aired in areas where they were active. They advised us that the bulk of their branches were located within local towns and villages, and that those branches fostered a strong relationship with their local communities. They said few of their products were available purely online and that customers were encouraged to visit their local branch, where branch managers had autonomy around decision making. They told us each employee received two days leave per year to participate in bank-initiated volunteering activities and that, where possible, branches offered free office space to local charities/community groups for meetings and similar activities. In addition all vacancies were advertised via local Job Centres.
Clearcast said they did not believe the term 'your local bank' was misleading, because it simply referred to the proximity of YB's branches and their involvement in local communities. They did not feel that the multinational nature of the business, or the location of the head office, prevented the bank from understanding the needs of their customers on a local level, which was the point the ad was making. They said the ad was only broadcast in areas where YB operated and there would therefore be a branch local to viewers.
The ASA acknowledged YB were owned by a multinational company and had a head office in Glasgow, but we considered that the majority of consumers would view the reference to YB being a "local bank" as referring to the proximity of their nearest branch and the involvement that branch had with the local community, rather than in the context of the overall ownership of the company. We therefore concluded the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 (Substantiation) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.