Don’t let us down, First Direct

When we ask people in workshops which brand they think has the best words, an awful lot of them say First Direct. ‘They sound so friendly and nice and – y’know – direct,’ they say.

And we agree. First Direct’s tone of voice isn’t just distinctive for a financial services brand – it’s distinctive full stop. And what’s brilliant about it is that it gets right into the nooks and crannies – small print, disclaimers, Ts and Cs. (They have the best ever ‘translation’ for that stock phrase about recording calls for training purposes: ‘Because we want to make sure we’re doing a good job, we may monitor or record our calls. We hope you don’t mind.’)

Which is why we were a bit disappointed by this print ad we spotted in the Evening Standard the other day. ‘We’ll give you £100 when you join and £100 when you leave. Which is highly unlikely,’ it starts off, cheekily. Great. So far, so First Direct.

 

But then what happens? ‘If you do not pay in at least £1,000 a month into your 1st Account, you may have to pay a monthly fee of £10. There is no monthly fee for the first six months.’

Hmm – it’s all starting to sound a bit like bog-standard Ts and Cs.

Then: ‘This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice.’ Oh dear. And that’s not even the small print. It’s the main body of the ad.

Let’s have a look at the small print, then. Again, it starts off well: ‘Still with us? Good for you.’ Then the brilliant ‘we hope you don’t mind’ line.

But then: ‘Applicants must be 18 or over. £100 offer is limited to one per customer or joint relationship. We reserve the right to decline to open an account.’ Not so friendly now.

Come on, First Direct. We love you. Don’t let us down.

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