These Bank Ads Salute Successful Women in a Clever, Unexpected Way

FCB's artful work makes a powerful point

Isn’t it time everyone looked past their preconceptions about what women can achieve in the business world?

To wit, BMO Bank of Montreal uses a clever device to challenge commonly held perceptions of gender and success in a campaign from FCB Canada. In the clips below, we meet Sam and Jamie, who’ve worked hard to make their marks in the fields of technology and entertainment.

The unisex names are just part of the simple yet satisfying twist that powers each commercial. Riffing on the theme of “visibility”—and mindful that strong, successful women are frequently overlooked—FCB put men in the foreground, with narration that seems to tell their stories, while the “real” Sam and Jamie hover in the background, hidden in plain sight, only stepping up toward the end.

The ads tout BMO’s Celebrating Women initiative, which supports women innovators, entrepreneurs and community organizers.

“We wanted to bring female leaders to the forefront,” agency creative chief Nancy Crimi-Lamanna tells AdFreak. “In Canada, more and more women are changing the face of leadership, and we believe they deserve their chance in the spotlight.”

FCB also found that search terms such as “CEO,” CFO” and “Canadian business leaders” yielded mostly male names and images. So, the shop took steps to make sure women that BMO has recognized through its Celebrating Women Awards placed higher in Google results:

“Almost everyone who worked on this campaign is female,” says Crimi-Lamanna. “The creative idea was conceived and executed by women at the agency—from the creative team, to the account team, and even myself, the chief creative officer. Our approach to the shoot was very similar. We used a female director, along with as many female crew members as possible.”

While the “face” of commerce remains predominantly male, that’s just part of an evolving picture in which women are coming into sharper focus every day.

Campaign Title: “Visibility”

Client: BMO
Client Supervision Name & Title:
Managing Director, Brand & Market Research: Jennifer Carli
Senior Advertising Manager: Shelley Johnsen
Marketing Specialist, Brand Governance & Merchandising: Kaleigh MacMaster

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna
Group Creative Director: Jeremiah McNama
Copywriter: Laura De Santis
Art Director: Tayler-Lee Resar-Teese
VP, Managing Director: Tracy Little
Group Account Director: Cynthia Roach
Account Supervisor: Allison Lochhead
Account Executive: Katherine Forester
Conseillère/Account Executive: Hélène Labrèche
Agency Producer: Christine Michalejko
Productrice: Anick Rozon
Project Manager: Lindsay Haan
Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Senior Strategic Planner: Eryn LeMesurier
Strategist: Shelagh Hartford

Production Company: Someplace Nice
Executive Producer: Chilo Fletcher
Director: Nicole Dorsey
Director of Photography: Andy Ferreira
Line Producer: Jennifer Walker
Casting: Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting

Editing House: Saints Editorial
Editor: Danica Pardo
Assistant Editor: Cameron Lasovich
Producer: Sara Windrim
Executive Producer: Tory Osler

Transfer Facility: Alter Ego
Colourist: Tricia Hagoriles
VFX Artist: Alexa Salsberg
Executive Producer: Hilda Pereira
Producer: Katie Methot

Audio: Apollo
Voice Director: Spencer Hall
Audio Engineer: Ethan Myers
Executive Producer: Tom Hutch

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.