UBS and Craft.


I love multi-page print ads. Often, campaign or brand- launch units, they’re a brand planner’s playground.

(Full disclosure, UBS is my financial firm and they are great.) 

This past week UBS launched a 4-page ad in The NY Times.  My brand strategy rigor is simple: one claim, three proof planks.  Reverse engineering this effort, I would have to say, the brand claim is “Banking is our Craft” and the three proof planks are: advice, managing wealth, and investment experience. Each topic gets its own page. The operative word in strategy is “craft.” (Don’t get me started on the word “banking.”)  

Page one ad copy reads:

Craft matters. In small ways. Like how a coffee is brewed. How a chair is built. In not-so-small ways. Like, how your money is cared for. It’s a conscious choice in in how we perform our work. At UBS, we elevate our banking to a craft blah, blah.

The planner in me says “craft” is not a terrible word. It can be emotionally and logically brought to life as a metaphor for managing money. But not through empty copy. Only through deeds, tasks, processes and evidence can one begin to believe managing money is a craft. As for the proof planks, the ones selected are departments not values. Or as I like to say “good-ats.”   

As I read the copy, mining for proof, it is de minimis.

An example: Always delivered with passion, care, unmatched expertise, and meticulous attention to detail. With our clients at the heart it all.”

This effort does not pass the sniff test.  It’s copy, not advertising. Persuasion requires proof. Craft may be an idea. May be an idea. But this souffle certainly isn’t cooked.

Not a good investment in branding. Or marketing.