1964: Lights, Camera, Action! Bank of Scotland's first film promotion.
In 1964, Bank of Scotland embarked on a new advertising initiative – the ‘sound film’.
Partners in Progress was a 20-minute ‘instructional’ film produced by the Bank’s Public Relations department. Newly-weds John and Jenny Sinclair – played by real-life couple Christopher and Elizabeth Denham - visit their local Bank of Scotland branch. There they open a current account and write a cheque for some new furniture. The film shows the cheque passing through the Bank’s clearing and computer systems (still a very new technology), with an up-to-date statement finally being sent to the Sinclairs.
The feature was intended to demonstrate the ‘numerous advantages of [having] a banking connection’. This was still an era when the majority of working people didn’t have bank accounts.
Copies were sent to branch managers for distributing to local schools, colleges and businesses. Within a few months of its release, the Bank proudly reported the film had been viewed by several thousand people.
Unfortunately no copies of Partners in Progress appear to have survived. All we have are some black and white stills and a synopsis, featured in the staff magazine Account Current from September 1964.
The ‘sound film’ continued to be a central part of the Bank’s PR strategy for the next decade. Further features included A Bank for Scotland, Moneywise, and the hugely popular Money to Burn. This latter showed the Bank disposing of £750,000 of old notes in a furnace.
It was some years before the Bank took up advertising on television. Though considered by the board in 1968, the first Bank of Scotland TV ads did not appear until the 1970s.