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21 . 10 . 21

Printed puzzle helps Lloyds convert customers to online

Words by: Print Power
How could Lloyds Bank get their high-net-worth, technology-averse customers to take control of their banking through an app? The answer lay in solving a set of printed newspaper crossword clues…
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It was a conundrum for Lloyds Banking Group: how to retain their most affluent customers, yet get them to take control of their banking by using their online services. These high value customers tended to be older, affluent, educated individuals. But they were more likely to distrust or even fear online banking, thinking it was unsafe and complicated. As the high street saw more and more branch closures, and there was growing competition to lure customers into switching banks, getting customers online was becoming an ever-more pressing problem that needed prompt action.

Lloyds had already tried to promote the app through radio and outdoor advertising, but that failed to drive awareness or trial. So it was time for a different approach.

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Turning to traditional methods

Firstly, they identified the perfect contextual environment where they could target those same customers in a new campaign – in the puzzle section of The Telegraph as it turned out. Secondly, they had to work out how they could best communicate with them within that space. Why The Telegraph? Because it’s the preferred newspaper among this financially sophisticated demographic. While studies revealed that this audience is ten times more likely to do newspaper crosswords and the puzzle pages receive the highest dwell time of any other page in the paper.

Trust in print also played a major factor in deciding on the best campaign channel. In 2017, NewsWorks conducted research that investigated the concept of trust and how it applies to news media. It found that older readers trust print, and 76 per cent of readers trust the quality newspaper they read.

Subsequently, their agency MediaCom partnered The Telegraph in a Lloyds Banking Group campaign called ‘Crossword Clues’. And ironically, in a campaign designed to get customers online, they turned to a most traditional method of piquing the puzzlers’ interest – through a series of 10 15 x 15 square print crossword-style ads positioned in a half-page space reserved for advertising that revealed the features of the app as answers. The ads ran on weekday and weekend pages, while the answers over the page ran alongside instructions on where to learn more about the app and its features.

It’s all too easy to infantilise older, technophobe customers, but rather than talking down to them, they respectfully appealed to their sharp intellect for solving cryptic clues. The idea being, that if they’re smart enough to decipher these tricky brainteasers, they’re smart enough to use a banking app.

We are proud that we were able to use an innovative, contextually relevant creative and media solution to engage a valuable but often overlooked audience.
Richard Warren
Director of Marketing Communications/ Lloyds Banking Group

Follow the clues

Could they be convinced that the app isn’t convoluted and unsecure after all, but simple and straightforward? A series of cryptic crossword clues written by the newspaper’s editorial team was to prove key in transforming their view of online banking. After all, if customers can solve a cryptic crossword, they can figure out how to use a simple app. For example, one clue read: ‘Sort deliverable format out for warning when balance is low (9, 6, 6)’. The answer, over the page, was: ‘Overdraft mobile alerts.’The crosswords provided the confidence boost the customers needed. The proof? The ads were five times more effective than any other of their app campaigns, while 65 per cent of Telegraph readers agreed that the creative was ‘informative, grabbed their attention and clever.’ After seeing the ad, 56 per cent of readers visited the Lloyds Bank website and 51 per cent learned more about the features. And more importantly, 44 per cent used or downloaded the app. Presenting a familiar 'System 2' challenge to this older, more sophisticated segment was three times more effective at nudging them towards a completely new task.

No Lloyds app campaign had ever achieved double digits for trial numbers.

MediaCom and Lloyds Bank Group’s Crossword Clues campaign went on to win the Best Use of Insight prize and the Chair’s Award for Best Overall Campaign at the NewsWorks 2021 Planning Awards.

 As well as cleverly demonstrating the power of news brands as a platform to drive customer engagement and brand salience, the campaign ultimately proves a fantastic example of how print can provide a successful stepping stone and a potent booster effect for online engagement.