Som Sabadell, an ode to inspiring and unexpected marketing

A recent example of inspiring, situational marketing has come from a very unexpected source: a Spanish bank. Celebrating their 130th anniversary, Banco Sabadell surprised and delighted passers-by in Plaça de Sant Roc, Sabadell by playing Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ with performers from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Cor Lieder Camera, Amics de l’Opera de Sabadell, and Coral Belles Arts. And it started with a little girl giving a ‘busker’ a coin. It has spread like wildfire, shared as “The Best Coin Ever Spent”.


There is so much to like about this little piece of advertising. Make no mistake, the entire video is produced on behalf of the bank and the occasional visual references to the bank’s frontage and signage (not to mention the end supers) are enough for the viewer to make, and importantly, retain the connection. But what strikes a chord with the viewer is how emotionally charged the whole video is. Although the ‘flash mob’ was orchestrated (pun intended) and likely well rehearsed, the reactions of those lucky enough to witness the show are not. They are genuinely surprised, perplexed and most importantly, engaged and entertained. The short performance was enough to disrupt the lives of so many people and give them something different, something so thoroughly memorable that its effects would last far beyond the five minute performance.

The video has created massive ripples across the internet, being viewed over 30 million times through various sources. But every time I watch it, I can’t help but get swept up in imagining how incredible it would have been to witness this live. Good advertising by its nature should be disruptive in some measure, and being able to capture the attention of a large group of people for five minutes is an outcome not afforded to many. In an overly saturated world, where we’re bombarded with messaging every second of our lives, the ability to present something so fundamentally nice and kind should not be discredited, it should be applauded. It’s definitely an innovative and lateral way of thinking for a bank.

Pete Saunders
Director of Brand Projects.


  1. Love this piece of marketing. The gesture is so simple and pure, yet so grand – the power comes from the scale of vision. This could easily have been a group of 20 amateur musicians, or a small string quartet – but the scale and quality lifts the gesture to one that moved those present and the 30 million + people watching and sharing through social media.
    One thing though – that little girl will go through the rest of her life sorely disappointed by the return on her investment with buskers she meets from now on.

    • Gentlemen,
      Almost a decade after your exchange here, it might be pointed out that you missed the mark in your analyses of the success of this marketing. The power didn’t come from the scale of vision, the proficiency of the musicians (which was very good), or the little girl with the coin; it came from the music. It doesn’t matter that a bank commodified the talents of composer and performers and staged the performance–most performances are staged anyway. You just need to give credit, as it were, where credit is due: Beethoven and the unparalleled power of music to reach people at their very foundations. Marketing seems kind of paltry by comparison. The now 88 million+ who have watched and shared and watched again the video are moved by it, and the world is indebted to Banco Sabadell. This piece of marketing continues to connect people with music and with each other (“all people will become brothers”), something a bank cannot do.

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