Bank reached for the stars

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Hollywood actor George Clooney is as popular in Norway as anywhere else, but otherwise hasn’t had any well-known associations to the country. Now he does, at least to Norway’s biggest bank.

George Clooney is now starring in a commercial for Norway's biggest bank. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Den norske Bank (DnB NOR) paid what advertising executives estimate was a high price to get Clooney to appear in a new ad for the bank, which is trying to attract more young customers. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) is prevented from airing commercials, but the spot for DnB NOR can be shown on commercial stations and at local cinemas.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports that DnB NOR clearly thought it was worth an estimated NOK 1.5 million to feature Clooney, who’s been called among the sexiest men in the world.

The commercial starts with a young woman waking up in an extremely messy hotel room, where there clearly was a big party the night before. The woman slowly realizes that she got married, but it’s not clear to whom. Clooney eventually strolls into the room, with a few carefully chosen and suggestive lines, and viewers can quickly get the impression that the woman fared well. The message, though, is that while it’s possible to get lucky, most people need to save.

“The banks’ problem has been to communicate with the young, and in this commercial this bank managed to do so, even if it cost them their shirt,” Trond Blindheim, dean of a marketing college in Oslo, told DN.

Blindheim said that when a major advertiser like DnB NOR starts featuring celebrities, they don’t always get viewers to buy their products even though the recognition factor can be high. He thinks DnB NOR and the Try advertising bureau that produced the Clooney spot succeeded. “It’s not often I pay attention to bank ads, but in this case, I did,” he said.

Neither Kjetil Try of Try Reklamebyrå nor DnB NOR will say what they paid Clooney. The commercial was shot in Milan and Try wouldn’t identify the woman nor say where she’s from. Both Try and DnB NOR are getting a lot of extra publicity because of media interest in the spot.

It’s not the first time, by the way, that Norwegian firms have used foreign celebrities in their advertising. Pamela Anderson has advertised for appliance seller Lefdal, John Cleese for Lefdal competitor Elkjøp and David Hasselhoff for shopping center Oslo City.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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