Bank Watch

Wells Fargo plans first new ad campaign since right after sales scandal

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan speaks Tuesday at a town hall-style meeting in Orlando, Fla., for the San Francisco-based bank’s employees.
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan speaks Tuesday at a town hall-style meeting in Orlando, Fla., for the San Francisco-based bank’s employees.

Wells Fargo plans next month to launch a new advertising campaign, CEO Tim Sloan announced Tuesday, as the San Francisco-based bank tries to move past a scandal involving fake accounts.

Addressing employees at a town hall-style meeting in Orlando, Fla., Sloan said the campaign will be built around the theme “Building Better Every Day.” It marks Wells’ first new national ad push since October, when a “Commitment” campaign including TV and full-page newspaper ads was rolled out following news of its scandal in September.

“I am going to answer a question that I get often as I visit with our team members,” Sloan said at Tuesday’s gathering, according to prepared remarks reviewed by the Observer. “‘When are we going to launch a big advertising campaign?’”

Sloan said Wells plans to introduce the campaign beginning in mid-April “across many different channels,” including broadcast and print ads, online banner ads and the bank’s mobile banking system.

The campaign will highlight “the things we offer that separate us from our peers,” Sloan said, pointing to online tools the bank provides customers and ATMs available next week that customers can use with their mobile phones rather than swiping a plastic card.

“As a company, Wells Fargo wants to build a better bank every day – for customers, for our team members, for our country and our world,” Sloan said.

“This isn’t just a tagline,” he said. “This is our commitment.”

It’s the latest effort under Sloan to turn around Wells’ image since being made CEO in October after John Stumpf abruptly retired over the scandal. Sloan, who was promoted from president and chief operating officer, has overseen a variety of efforts to right Wells Fargo, which faces ongoing government probes into the scandal.

In other announcements Tuesday, Sloan said Wells Fargo plans this year to invite its 269,000 employees to participate in a new “culture survey.” Those will replace “Team Member Connections” surveys that have been conducted by Gallup for years.

Sloan said the new tool will be a “confidential, in-depth, 20-to-30 minute culture survey designed by an academic who specializes in corporate culture.” Employees will be invited in May to take the voluntary surveys.

“The survey will help us understand how you experience our culture,” Sloan said. “Our goal is to uncover our culture’s positive attributes and its potential weaknesses, so our leaders can understand how best to foster an ethical, inclusive and customer-focused culture.”

Wells Fargo declined to disclose information about the academic involved in the survey. In a statement, spokesman Peter Gilchrist said the survey is being developed using “a well-tested, reliable and valid assessment tool” designed in partnership with “an expert on culture.”

Gilchrist said the bank will share themes from the survey results with employees and “talk openly internally and externally” about changes Wells Fargo makes as a result of the findings.

Wells Fargo employs about 24,100 in the Charlotte metro area, its largest employment hub.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts