Bundesbank launches SEPA advertising campaign

The Deutsche Bundesbank is rolling out a large-scale information campaign this Saturday to inform the public about the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Print advertisements and web banners featuring a variety of themes will be published in order to further the preparations for the new European payments regime. “Our advertising campaign is designed to bring the general public’s attention to SEPA and how it can benefit them, and to allay their concerns about using the IBAN, the international bank account number,” Bundesbank Executive Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele explained.

The information campaign is scheduled to run over two six-week periods, the first of which will start this Saturday. Wave two will be rolled out in January and continue until 1 February 2014, the day SEPA goes live. The print advertisements will be run in mass-market media with a broad readership, the aim being to reach the widest-possible audience in Germany. At the same time, SEPA web banners will appear on a variety of websites to target internet-savvy account holders. The campaign will be flanked by search engine optimisation directing interested internet users to keywords such as “SEPA credit transfer” and “SEPA direct debit”.

The Bundesbank’s advertising campaign will centre around the IBAN because new account identifiers will be assigned to all account holders. “A number you won’t get out of” is the slogan used consistently throughout the campaign. “We are using this slogan to address two really important things about the IBAN. First, the migration to SEPA is approaching because it’s the law. Second, many aspects of the IBAN will already be very familiar to account holders,” Executive Board member Thiele explained. The IBAN is composed of the country code DE for Germany, a two-digit checksum followed by the account holder’s usual bank sort code and account number. The checksum is there to prevent input errors which might route a credit transfer to the wrong account. If a typo is made, the payment transaction is halted.

The visuals and dialogue used in the advertisements are designed to encourage viewers to inform themselves about the IBAN. “‘Is this really necessary?’ is a question that my staff and I have heard many times in the past,” Thiele said. “When we explained how the new account identifier is made up and that it mostly comprises the bank sort code and account number, people always said ‘Aha, I get it!’ and were hugely relieved,” Thiele added. This is also the intended effect of the print and online advertising campaign.