Battle of the Banks

NAB's 'Break Up' campaign has triggered a 'Battle of the Banks' in newspapers as smaller lenders enter the fray.

What began as a seemingly harmless tweet from NAB just before Valentine’s Day has escalated into a war as Westpac, Bank SA and Newcastle Permanent also run ads in newspapers to promote their home loan products.110216_114037243_daily-telegraph-NAB-val-day-article

NAB launched their national Valentine’s Day campaign in a bid to tempt customers from ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank into switching financial institutions.

The campaign was sparked by an insight that people tended to re-appraise staying in unhappy relationships come Valentine’s Day. NAB applied this as an analogy of people’s unsatisfactory relationship with banks.

The ‘Break Up with Your Bank’ campaign began with a teaser on the Friday night before Valentine’s Day.  NAB’s twitter account appeared to have accidentally broadcasted a personal tweet saying, ‘Sooooo stressed out. Have to make a tough decision and I know I’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings! Arrggghhh.’

The following Saturday NAB revealed all with a PR release and a newspaper front page article explaining their move to start paying early exit fees to lure CBA and Westpac mortgage holders.
On February 15, NAB advanced the campaign – and the relationship analogy – with full page ‘break-up letter’ ads in both national and metropolitan newspapers criticising the other banks for their mortgage exit fees and other unfair practices.110216_11421125_NAB-break-up-ad-article

The campaign was stylistically different from other advertising communication NAB has run in newspapers, effectively achieving disruption and cut-through enticing consumers to read the long copy ad.

Westpac fought back by running high impact double-page spreads immediately after NAB’s break up newspaper ads.  Westpac’s campaign provided consumers with a competitive counter-offer, promoting their best selling Premier Advantage Package accompanied with a special limited time discount for new customers.

Both campaigns received plenty of attention in the general media, social websites and trade blogs.

The following week, Westpac and NAB escalated their campaign in newspapers. NAB ran individual ads targeting both Westpac and Commonwealth Bank customers, perpetuating the break up messaging. The advertisement reverted back to the original template to reinforce the connection between the communication and brand.110216_114249556_westpac-fights-back-article

The weekend saw smaller lenders roll out creatively engaging newspaper ads to tempt consumers with their own compelling offer.

Bank SA ran a full-page ad in an Adelaide metropolitan newspaper to target the local market. The communication used rational messaging to highlight the cost advantage of switching to their bank.

Newcastle Permanent fought back with a strong piece of communication picking holes in NAB’s argument to break up with the other banks by stating that it’s still married to its shareholders. Newcastle Permanent used that point to differentiate their financial products and practices by saying they exist for their customers.

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