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 It’s Love, Virtually, says Santander

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We all love a bit of experiential marketing, but Santander are taking things to a new level.

Kate, 33, from Brighton, thought that she was being taken to Sheffield by boyfriend Robin for a customer research exercise involving a new Virtual Reality offering from the bank, in exchange for £250 quid.

But in “reality”, while Kate had the headset on, Robin, her boyfriend, a part-time electrician with whom she has a 1-year-old son, was being spruced up by Santander’s little helpers, and when Kate removed her headset, a suited and booted Robin was in position to get down on one knee, and pop the question.

And as if things were not surreal enough, Sheffield athletics legend and Santander ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill was on hand to play the Cilla Black role, dressed in full Maid of Honour gear.

Spoiler alert – she says…actually, you can find out for yourself.

The video short (see above) has been posted to YouTube and other social media channels, and it’s a genuine tear jerker.

For an idea that could have been a real toe-curler, it is all rather touching, in a rather British, emotion bubbling under the surface kind of a way. There are well-wishers everywhere, from stage hands to cameramen, and and it feels far from fake.

“It’s still sinking in, to be honest,” says Robin. “I saw the call out from Santander while procrastinating on social media and thought ‘what a daft idea’, which is exactly why I wanted to do it.”

An enthusiastic Ennis-Hill revealed: “”I was just as nervous about it as Robin. It was such a special and moving moment, and there were a few tears shed in Sheffield’s town centre!  Kate’s reaction was absolutely brilliant.”

Indeed it was – “I went along with Robin’s VR ploy because we needed to buy a new oven”, said Kate, and, ever practical, thanked Santander for the £5,000 cheque given as a gift to help the happy couple kick-start their future together.

It’s not the first time Santander, have pulled a marketing stunt like this. Previously, “Sun-tan-der” customers were asked to don VR headsets in Sheffield displaying images of dream holiday destinations, before taking them off only to see racing driver Jenson Button and Ennis-Hill in front of a mock-up beach and palm trees, presenting them with a £5k cheque to spend on a real-life dream holiday.

This latest stunt really was taking “brand-engagement” to a new level. Clearly banks haven’t lost that loving feeling just yet.

Even if they can’t resist the opportunity to let us know that the 123 Current Account has 4.7 million customers, offers 1.5% interest on balances of up to £20k, and up to 3% cashback on their household bills.

Thanks goodness their inspired marketers have finally stumbled across a more palatable way to tell us.


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