Co-operative Bank Tattoo Ad Cringe-Fest

Sometimes an ad comes along that is so misjudged, so ill-conceived, so toe-curlingly bad and just so, er, wrong that it simply cannot be ignored.

If you've been watching prime time television recently you might have been exposed to the advertising shambles that is the new commercial for the Co-operative bank.

You know the one. The one where the embattled bank defiantly demonstrates that its serious commitment to ethics and values is skin deep by showing an intensely unlikeable knob-head having those words tattooed on his back.

It's been labelled as 'edgy' by their chief executive. Probably because it was directed by Tony Kaye.

Well, I think it's about as edgy as a sponge. I think 'negligent' is a far more accurate word to describe it.

In fact it makes we wonder whether it came about during one of ex-boss Paul Flowers' crystal meth and crack binges rather than in any attempt to restore and rebuild trust after the recent shame and scandals that have engulfed the bank.

From a business perspective it certainly makes sense to publicly try to restore trust. However, by producing something so contrived and lacking in sincerity and substance, this commercial actually raises more questions than it answers.

A fluffy, corporate chest-beating brand ad might well make the people inside the Co-operative Bank feel better but the lack of any concrete actions or promises will do little to convince prospective customers and investors.

OK, so they've refused to lend money to businesses that don't meet their ethical standards. So, that's a tiny glimpse into what the Co-op doesn't do. But what do they actually do? What can they say that the everyday person in the street can buy into? What else do they stand for that is genuinely different to other banks? What the bejesus are these inky ethics and values?

Given the suspicion and low esteem in which most banks are held, there's clearly a place for an ethical bank that stands apart from the competition. However it's not just values which are important. It's what a bank offers customer and how it acts and behaves that really matters.

It's just not enough to use advertising to passively remind people that the Co-operative Bank has ethics and values. The communication needs to work much harder to go beyond the superficial and give people a reason to care by showing something far more tangible about their approach to banking.

I can't believe that an organisation coming out of a crisis, especially one that's been losing  money hand over fist, has been so poorly advised to produce something bereft of credibility and belief.

Apparently, a £1.5 billion black hole was found in the Co-operative Bank's accounts. As well as the cash, it's a crying shame that the script for this own-goal of a commercial didn't disappear into the same black hole.


  1. He hasn't even had ACTUAL ethics and values fake tattooed on his back, just the word 'ethics' and the word 'values'. Meaningless twaddle.

  2. It would've been far more entertaining if they would've tattooed all the bank's shortcomings and headlines in all papers over his whole body. The bank with the least tattoos gets my money.

  3. Couldn't agree with this more.This ad is almost insulting to its audience.
    All it demonstrates is that the Co-op thinks its customers are gullible idiots.

  4. It makes me think of Nazis.
    Military baring, short blond hair, getting tattood

  5. How seriously do we take this? Apparently not seriously enough to do some basic fucking research about how guns actually work so that we don't have a fucking CARTRIDGE flying through the air. That's what BULLETS do -- after they leave the cartridge you fucking clowns.

  6. Do we know who made (sh)it?