BNP Paribas : Playing to its strengths
The importance of context to a corporate message.
BNP Paribas, a France-based banking group, expresses its core values with animation.
The bank’s About us section includes Values among its secondary headings; clicking on it opens a page that is initially blank apart from the title ‘Core values’, but then loads an animated exposition of its four core value keywords: ‘responsiveness’, ‘creativity’, ‘commitment’, ‘ambition’. The feature is a literal play on words, with letters showering onto the screen and unscrambling to form an opening statement, before each value in turn is introduced into the screen. While the keyword is to the fore its translation in various languages forms a kaleidoscopic backdrop. The show is accompanied by a soundtrack blending music and multilingual recitation of the words, and ends with a stack of the four words separated by the lines ‘The core values/ of/ BNP Paribas’.
A statement from the board chairman, Michel Pebereau, sits below the animation screen (and below the scroll line) and above a static itemisation of the values and supportive homilies. The show runs for about 65 seconds and has English- and French-language versions, in keeping with the dual language set up of the site.
It’s quite a shock to experience a major sub-section of a corporate site opening on an animation, and one complete with Tower-of-Babel soundtrack. That it is thus attention-grabbing and memorable is undeniable, as is the high quality of the production. It also arguably reinforces the organisation’s tag line, “The bank for a changing world”, and reflects at least two of its core values, creativity and ambition. But, while the message may be appropriate to the bank, is the medium appropriate for the message in this form?
TV or the cinema are natural homes for this kind of ad film, the web less obviously so, even with the greater use of video it now supports. The running time of 65 seconds is within the optimum for online presentations, but in this context it is expecting too much of site visitors that they will sit passively and not click away while it plays out. Lack of scene setting (the ‘film notes’ are off screen) and the abrupt and unconventional triggering of the animation (and sound) on click of the menu heading are two factors that limit the number of people who will be as impressed as the bank hopes. This is one change that might be better not imposed but opted for.http://www.bnpparibas.com
First published on 31 March, 2011