Latest Wells Fargo Snafu Is a ‘Great Example’ of the Changes Its Ad Campaign Touts, According to CMO

Work from BBDO rolled out shortly before the recent gaff

A new brand campaign from Wells Fargo and BBDO in San Francisco launched earlier this month. Wells Fargo
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

The latest Wells Fargo hiccup—some employees improperly altered documents about corporate customers, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal—made the news last week, shortly after the company unveiled an ad campaign promoting a new kind of Wells Fargo.

That might seem like a problem. But it isn’t an issue for CMO Jamie Moldafsky, who believes the latest snafu is an example of what the ad campaign, from BBDO in San Francisco, promises.

“Part of the way things are truly different is that we’re proactively fixing what went wrong, making things right and reviewing our efforts to find and fix [problems],” explained Moldafsky. “What we were very clear about in the copy was that part of the new Wells Fargo was that we are proactively looking for issues and fixing them. This issue is actually a very good example of this.”

She continued: “The issue that was in the news [last] week is actually an issue that was identified by team members who raised their hands. We immediately investigated, escalated to the regulators and are working through that. … This is very clearly a departure and an example of a different Wells Fargo. People may not be seeing that or reading that but that’s actually a very good example of why we felt confident to run the ad.”

The new campaign, from BBDO, features television, print and digital assets as well as a new tagline: “Established 1852. Reestablished 2018.”

According to Moldafsky, the campaign has increased traffic to the company’s redesigned website and is already resonating with consumers “because the ad is very honest and transparent.”

“We never said we’d be perfect going forward but [the campaign] did give people a sense that even though we don’t ever want to have issues, the fact that this is an issue that we proactively identified is consistent with what we’ve put forth in this campaign,” said Moldafsky, who noted that the campaign was never meant to indicate that Wells Fargo was done changing but communicate that the company would be constantly changing and “tackling things head on” to be a better bank.

The company also worked with BBDO to create a print ad—one that looks like the typical layout of a newspaper—that extensively explains all the ways the company has changed in the last 20 months.

“We knew that people wanted to understand more than just the headline that they see in newspapers but what we as an important financial institution are doing about it,” said Moldafsky.

See the print ad below:


@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.