Creative insights: a different debut

Marianne interviews Copywriter Chloe, Senior Account Manager Hannah, Designer Emily, Creative Director Steve, and Senior Copywriter Josh about our recent project for Gatehouse Bank.

Q. Tell me a bit about the background of the project?
Gatehouse Bank is a UK shariah-compliant bank offering an alternative to the conventional high street banks for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

We had recently helped Gatehouse with their branding and, following this, they were now looking to feature a television commercial (TVC) on the Islam Channel promoting their offering to the wider UK Muslim population. This would be the TV debut of their new brand and Gatehouse Bank’s first television ad.

Q. What was the aim of the project?
Our brief was to help Gatehouse make the most of the opportunity to raise further awareness of them as a modern Shariah-compliant bank and showcase their range of services and products.

Q. What was the biggest challenge?
Chloe: The biggest challenge was striking the right balance between making an impact with the Gatehouse brand and explaining their offer.

Emily: There were lots of important verbal and visual elements to get across. As a team, we tackled the different layers (design, script, voiceover, music) and brought it to life. A juggling act, but an enjoyable one.

Q. Tell me a bit more about the creative process and how we got to the final design?
Our priority was to emphasise Gatehouse’s brand message, “A different way”. It articulates their unique approach and offering as a modern Shariah-compliant bank, a contrast to their more traditional competitors. Balancing the impactful expression of the brand with additional information about Gatehouse’s products and services was a challenge. We emphasised the brand identity but also included messaging about Gatehouse’s offering to tease the viewer and prompt them to find out more.

Research looking at competitor TVCs informed our choices: helping us to ensure that Gatehouse’s ad stood out in the context of the Islam Channel and was as effective as it could be.

We differentiated through both visuals and audio. We proposed cinematic lifestyle photography for an emotive approach. The greyscale palette we defined in the brand guidelines worked in our favour. It contrasted with the other ads, highlighted the Islamic green, and accentuated the more traditional corporate blue of the Gatehouse marque, making it stand out. The use of the Gatehouse arrows throughout served to create a feeling of energy and forward movement.

Our choice of footage included a diverse range of scenarios and people – a mix of ages, but also contexts – demonstrating that Gatehouse is for everyone. We worked to make sure the footage was in line with the brand’s personality and values, while also remaining sensitive to Shariah principles. The female voiceover was also a conscious decision. This made Gatehouse’s TVC distinctive among the other male-voiced features ads and, again, helped to reinforce Gatehouse Bank’s more modern and outlook.

Q. How do you feel about the final result?
The campaign is currently ongoing, so it’s still too early to gauge the full impact. However, the feedback to date has been very encouraging. The client was delighted with the TVC. It not only encapsulated the brand vision they were seeking but has also had a measurable impact to date: enquiry levels have increased since the advert aired, with new customers citing the TVC. Website traffic has also increased and it’s having an impact beyond the primary target audience: both competitors and other third-party businesses have commented on the ad.

Hannah: I’m really happy with the final ad. I think it presents Gatehouse as a modern bank, visually showcases the brand, and brings their proposition – ‘A different way’ – to the fore. Really proud of the team on this one!

Chloe: I felt proud of the whole team for deftly bringing the Gatehouse proposition to life in a whole new medium. I’m pleased to see the brand launched to a national audience and I’m excited to see what’s next…

Emily: I’m extremely proud of the final result. We have presented Gatehouse in a way that reinforces their proposition – the look and feel embodies doing things ‘A different way’ and really stands out on the Islam Channel.

Q. What was the most enjoyable aspect of this project?
Hannah: This was a real team effort. I really enjoyed the collaborative nature of the project both within mm* and with the client.

Chloe: I love working to get to the most succinct and appealing version of a message. It’s very satisfying. And it’s always cool to be part of a brand’s debut.

Emily: Working collaboratively and using our skills to create an exciting debut for a brand that we’ve helped redefine.

“Upon receiving the brief, mark-making* challenged our thinking rather than just taking it at face value. This approach raised the bar in terms of both creativity and production values. The results exceeded our expectations and the ad has achieved standout among the intended target audience.”

– Alan Roderick, Head of Marketing, Gatehouse Bank

About markmaking*

mark-making* is an award-winning creative agency specialising in branding, campaigns and communications