Westpac have created the worst bank ad of all time

There’s an ad on TV (or at least it was on TV) which is absolutely infuriating and appaling. It shows emotive footage of pollution, small seabirds covered in oil, burning refineries, clouds of smoke, barren landscapes and then has a text caption: “Some of the biggest problems in the world today were financed by banks”, and then goes on to say, in essence that banks are evil – except for Westpac. This utterly shit, cheap thinking is so bad, that I can’t help but think that the marketing leads and agency should be dismissed. It shows gross incompetence and worse.

Westpac makes so much of it’s corporate reputation, and yet damages in entire image of the banking industry by basically legitimising the rubbish hurled at banks by the most uninformed. Furthermore, it builds Westpac up as a target for future backlash WHEN (not if) one of the millions of projects that Westpac funds has some environmental or social issue attached.

Obviously some goose at an ad agency came up with the concept and the CMO has approved it with absolutely no foresight into the unsustainable and quite frankly stupid messages this ad sends in the broader context of social and public affairs. Who was the planner on this garbarge? a 16 year old Greens wannabe? How on earth did the CMO think it would be a good idea?

What’s worse – instead of focussing on the products at hand, the methodology with which Westpac is going about improving the environment or their lending process, it simply goes the emotion angle. It highlights the negative with emotion, rather than building up the positive – that banks are in a position to enforce greater transparency and accountability of projects it funds. This negative emotion hurts the bank and worryingly, it also hurts the credibility of all banks and financial institutions.

Westpac, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Constantine Frantzeskos

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  • Ah, the old sleight of hand…

    Being an old pessimist I question any and all benevolent actions by any and all business. No such thing I say.

    Why is a bank of all businesses altering its business practices to restrict its growth? Banks want a multinational cash cow using their services. Surely, indeed.

    Having a bank which promotes itself in a manner Westpac does with ulterior motives is suspect at best. It’s like “Free Pork Roast Saturdays” at the Jewish Restaurant: things are not what they appear.

    Buying the Westpac brand of banking will not make your planet greener. Someone has already stepped in to fill their greedy shoes. If Westpac saw that this type of investment on their behalf was so insignificant, they could do without it, then they decided they could purge it and drum up business of the green kind at the same time.

    Noone does anything for free. McDonalds does not have a restaurant in the Children’s Hospital for no reason. Bill Gates does not donate his money without ulterior motive.

    Banking is a business beyond the grasp of most people. It works like this. Take a handful of sand and pass it carefully from one person to the other. At the end, you will end up with less sand than you began. All this handling has caused some of the sand to be lost. The bank is that chain of hands: they do not lose the sand however. They pocket it. If it is your wish to keep playing musical sand passing you should not complain about more and more of your sand disappearing. All those hands cost money.

    When I got my first job at Kew Kentucky Fried Chicken I was forced to open a Westpac savings account to have my pay put into it. For that reason of forced banking in a free country I hated and continue to hate the fuckers. Exploit me to the tune of $4 a month when State Bank would only charge $2 with all transactions free. So fuck you KFC and fuck your Westpac puppetmasters.

    Paul Karagiannis 12 years ago


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