Not so curiously, Burnett’s TV bank spots don’t work

The passage of at least some time hasn’t made Leo Burnett/Chicago’s new campaign for Fifth Third Bank, “the curious bank,” any more palatable than it was when we first looked at it just weeks ago.

Since we wrote about the Fifth Third print executions, however, the television work has begun to flood the market. 

Unfortunately, like the print work, the TV spots struggle mightily to try and make sense of Fifth Third as a curious bank.  But they ultimately aren’t any more successful than the print work is.  It’s simply a marriage of brand and tagline that should never, ever have happened.

But a source reminded us of something about that word “curious” now so prominently attached to FifthThird Bank and its new ad campaign. Connoisseurs of great advertising may recall that  “curious,” in its adverbial form anyway, was also quite closely associated with one of the great success stories in Leo Burnett’s long history. 

Burnett put Altoids in the “curious” category

We refer, of course, to Altoids, which was known for so long (and still is actually) as the “curiously strong” breath mint.  

Certainly, with the quite quirky Altoids advertising Burnett put out for years, that word “curious” helped the agency transform a British breath mint almost no one had heard of in the United States into a product that almost everyone hereabouts knew quite well.

Perhaps the Burnett creative team toiling on the Fifth Third account figured the word could work its magic a second time on an entirely different kind of brand.

We may never know for sure why Burnett chose to go with the curious theme for its Fifth Third Bank ad campaign.  We just wish the decision hadn’t been made.

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