Becoming the most switched to bank in the UK


In 2010, UK retail banking was dominated almost entirely by the four biggest players in the market – Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, and Natwest/RBS.

Despite the seismic shock of the financial crisis, most people still banked with one of the big four. People rarely switched their account, especially not to a smaller provider. Our challenge was to help Santander break this mould and become the most switched to bank in the UK.

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We needed to crack the current account market and persuade people that, despite decades of experience to the contrary, there was now a real benefit to switching their bank.

Our work with Santander focused on doing just that, as we launched their 123 Current Account/ Every pieces of communication we created as geared towards differentiating Santander in a saturated market. Cutting through complex competitor jargon and advocating tailored solutions wherever possible. All the while being totally transparent. We used specific examples to make the conversation feel relevant, for example the “Going Somewhere? You could get 3% cashback on travel with the 123 credit card at outdoor sites near large train stations”.

Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelley, Santander, ENGINE Creative, advertising

ENGINE helped Santander position themselves as the ultimate challenger brand. Santander has grown by breaking the traditional inertia and winning switchers – gaining more net switchers than any other competitor.

Santander’s share of acquisitions has grown rapidly, illustrating the degree to which Santander has become the scale challenger to the traditional banks. Our advertising has taken Santander from a reputation as one of the least customer centric banks to one of the most, and the 123 Current Account has had the highest awareness of any current account product. Our work for Santander has won numerous awards including an IPA effectiveness award.

We love a challenge big or small, local or global. So don’t hestiate to reach out.
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