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Brand: 
Egg
Business Category: 
Dot-com
Agency: 
Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

This internet-only bank, whose parent company is insurance giant Prudential, has 1.1 million British customers.

The company admitted it was "very nervous" about the $4.5 million campaign yet, according to The Independent newspaper, it was a move to "represent a new set of values" to attract "younger and less traditional" new customers.

In the series of four semi-creepy ads, a menacing man named Rob materializes in the apartment of Stuart as he sleeps and showers. It is not clear if Rob is part of Stuart's imagination or is supposed to be real, but he gets into intimate situations as Stuart's eyes bug out but never stops the action.

The ads end with children chanting, "Egg and me, up in a tree, k,i,s,s,i,n,g."

The Independent quoted Tony Williams, head of marketing for Egg, as saying, "We considered having two women who could be gay and thought that was too edgy, and a man and woman would have been just normal. We think this is edgy but getting it right."

Spike Jones, creator of the offbeat film "Being John Malkovich," directed two of the ads, including the phone call (but not the shower or bed ads).

"The whole concept was actually about other banks always saying they were with you day and night and could help in many aspects of your life," said Steve Hicks, Egg's Head of Brand Communications. "This was a typical play on that by the then cheeky brand... It was hard for the average Joe Public to get this but that was not the audience we were after. In our Victorian mindset over here people naturally saw 'gay' in the relationship. That was not intended and the 'customer' had a girlfriend in one of the spots.

"No sexual tension was intended and with Spike Jones, darkness was assured, which is what was wanted because other banks trying to be friendly and run your life was a bit Big Brother and smothering to us. It worked well -- got praise and was criticized -- as were most of Egg's TV ads back then (only three of my press ads were banned!)."

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