Oath Spearheads Wells Fargo's Digital Campaign To Rebuild Trust

Wells Fargo’s integrated marketing and advertising campaign, called “Re-Established,” seems to be rebuilding the company's giant consumer trust problem with help from Oath's digital content and ads after the company found some 3.5 million potentially fake bank and credit card accounts in 2017.

Oath, a Verizon company, began working with Wells Fargo years ago as a distribution partner, but helped to spearhead the digital part of its “Re-Established” campaign early in 2018. The campaign will run through the year across Oath’s platforms — display, video and native ad units  — on Yahoo, Yahoo Sports MSN, and across native assets on multiple properties.

The campaign’s message, established in 1852 and re-established in 2018, was designed by creative agency BBDO in San Francisco, along with the media agency OMD in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Oath took the role as distribution partner for digital.

While Oath supports the digital media element, the ads are also running across print and broadcast.

“It’s probably one of the largest investments the company has ever made on an advertising campaign,” acknowledges Michael Lacorazza, executive vice president and head of integrated marketing at Wells Fargo.

Early internal data shows consumers are responding positively to the message. Video tends to gain the greatest emotional impact, Lacorazza said, but even some of the more static ad placements that can reinforce the message play a role in aiding in the recall. The video runs on linear broadcast television, streaming programming, social media, and across the Oath platform, among other places.

The TV spots started to run in early May, and Oath jumped in with digital mid-month.

Wells Fargo’s marketers measure operational messages such as click-through rates and attitudinal sentiment about the brand, such as awareness of the message of the campaign. It also measures the probability that the consumer will continue to do business with Wells Fargo.

Marketers are tracking much higher consumer engagement rates with content that is related, which means consumers like the message. The team also plans to use other measurements to determine the success of the campaign -- including daily polls for different segments that track against the brand’s objectives, and ultimately the sales outcome through a media mix model after completing the timeline.   

The daily polls also suggest that consumers are acknowledging that the authentic apologies are being heard and accepted for the mistakes made by a few at Wells Fargo, Lacorazza said. “People are more willing and open to do business with us than they have been in recent history,” he said. “It’s early days, only a couple of months, but so far we’ve seen a positive response.”

The majority of traffic to the site comes from mobile devices, about 71%, which remains consistent with most of Wells Fargo’s site campaigns, which confirms the company’s mobile-first approach to site design. 

Click-through rates from ads running across Oath are “pretty good,” Lacorazza said, but many site visitors also come through organic or paid-search campaigns on AOL, Bing, Google, and Yahoo, or direct to the site.

The digital part of the campaign is running through regular and programmatic channels. “Building the brand really does matter; it does lift all boats,” said John Piontkowski, vice president and industry lead of financial services at Oath, referring to the lift from digital and programmatic campaigns.

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