Founded in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, Ally Bank built its brand through disruption and creativity, pointing out – without pulling any punches – the shortcomings of traditional banks.

Great rates, lower fees, honest talk: "It's the Right Thing to Do," the online-only "branchless bank" proclaimed.

Ally’s marketing, in fact, pointed out everything customers hated about legacy banks – and eased early fears about online banking. The upstart grew by double digits for several years, reaching 5.5 million customers, and more than $100 billion in deposits, over the next decade.

Its 2009 "Do you want a pony?" commercial "worked exceptionally well" in depicting traditional banking painpoints and creating awareness, said Andrea Brimmer, the organization’s chief marketing and PR officer.