The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Has My Singaporean Bank Gone Nice, Soft or Mad?
December 6, 2006, 9:26 am
Filed under: Comment

This is the sign outside of the bank today.  Have they done this to …

1. Prove they are nice guys really.

2. Fool kids into thinking Santa banks with them so they will come in and open a savings account.

3. Demonstrate they truly have ‘lost it’ – as best exemplified by the stupid keyring security they introduced, which I still hate and you can read about here

If any other organisation did this, you’d think it was cute – however because a bank has done it, you think they’re being manipulative, corporate sharks.

Why don’t they understand that in the main, people don’t like banks … don’t trust banks … don’t respect banks …

A few of them are starting to get it – with the latest being WESTPAC in Australia who have done a wonderful campaign [with a real, differentiated idea] thanks to the brilliance of the nicest, smartest and greatest planner ever – Mark Sareff of the Campaign Palace … but in the main, they are as blinkered to the needs and wants of consumers as they’ve ever been – probably because everyday consumers don’t make them as much money as the needs and wants of the Investment Bankers.

Banking needs a reality check … and they would do well to start by reading ‘Banks Behaving Badly by Maria Preudergast – afterall, it helped us win Egg in America [that and the involvement of the greatest business cynic of them all, Geoff Burch]

23 Comments so far
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For what it’s worth, I really like ANZ’s recent work. They don’t take themselves too seriously and put some much needed humor into their personal banking messages.

You can see most of them here:

Comment by Age

That’s quite interesting you say that because as an ANZ Bank customer, I find the work M&C do for them quite upsetting.

Sure the general communication is fun, interesting and differentiated – but as a customer who has shitloads of cash taken from his account each month in ‘fee’s’, I find the DM stuff creativity for the sake of creativity – resulting in me asking why I need to get sent a 40 page book of ‘silly places to put money’ when …

[1] a bank is probably a much sillier place to put my hard earned savings than under a pillow [because at least there, I am not subjected to ‘account keeping fees’]


[2] They are spending so much cash [cash I help generate for them] telling me something that could be done in less grandiose ways.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for creative approaches [our EGG work proves that] but there is a point where the consumers impression actually can be affected if it is involving their own personal finances.

I hope M&C paid ANZ for that campaign because it put me off the bank massively.

Comment by Rob

Interesting case there, of an existing customer feeling put off by a campaign. I wonder whether it helped get new customers though?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It did … but the banking industry tends to operate on a policy of ‘Consumer Roundabout’ – where they know that anyone who actually changes their bank [for whatever reason] will one day end up back where they started simply because there aren’t enough options to keep them away for too long.

Comment by Rob

If everyone screws everyone then everyone wins… Such an unusual philosophy. Mobile companies are like that. “What will you offer me to stay with you? Nothing…right thanks.”

Why is it cheaper for us to join them as a new customer than stay loyal? Every network drives their customers away once a year, its insane.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re sooooooo right … so many companies would be better off if they chucked out their CRM programs and database management systems and just got back to the basics of customer care.

It doesn’t need to be overly gracious – a decent level of care and consideration will do – whilst also giving the people at the ‘front line’ the ability to act with a modicum of common sense when simplistic customer disputes occur.

Geoff Burch once told me he suggested this approach to a car company call centre … and was told he was mad as their staff would be giving benefits out to all and sundry.

Geoff kindly pointed out that [1] it’s not saying much for the faith they have in their staff and [2] maybe they ensure their products are made to a higher standard so that there won’t be so many customer complaints in the first place.

Comment by Rob

Just on ANZ…
I figure my money is going to go into a bank nonetheless and every single one is going to screw me over in their own way eventually. I’ve been with 3 banks now, they all talk different languages but walk the same. Like phone companies, in the end, you’re always paying the same thing.

I guess I was attracted to ANZ’s ads because they weren’t your normal shitty bank ads saying the same garbage. Plus they actually listened to me when I wanted a Visa Debit card, unlike Westpac who just kept on offering me Mastercard packages. I actually had to say ask the lady; “are you actually listening to what I’m saying?” pfffffft!

Comment by Age

Absolutely right.
Ive stuck with HSBC because at the moment they are the only bank that hasnt messed up majorly with my (or my family’s) accounts. But I dont feel any major affinity for them, its just a matter of feeling like they are less likely to screw me over… which is shocking really.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I remember doing an all day workshop with a bank client and in my intro I said, “NO ONE LIKES BANKS. YOU ARE AS NECCESSARY AN EVIL AD ADVERTISING” … to which key executives got up and walked out. Not the best start to a long day but a perfect example of banking arrogance and misguided beliefs.

Still, we went on to do the brilliant ‘MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL HAPPINESS’ campaign for US Egg so it all works out in the end.

Comment by Rob

Some people say they want the truth but just can’t handle it…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

How true …

The way I look at it is that any bank that uses David Lee Roth [ex-Van Halen] as their spokesperson [as we did with Egg] is going to be loved by at least half of America – which is approx 100% more than most banks ever attain!

Comment by Rob

Now thats a quality celeb endorsement.

Gene Simmons says “Save carefully with ABC Bank!”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

The line we used?


Comment by Rob

Excellent. Quite true as well in many senses.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yes … pity I can only afford a modicum of happiness!

Don’t you get the house keys soon? And any news on the LOVE thing you mentioned?

Comment by Rob

Got them! Been so busy I forgot to mention!
Moving in on Saturday, getting my Wii tomorrow…busy times 😀

No call from Love yet! Though they have told me they are definitely calling.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well you won’t hear the phone as you’ll be Wiiing … ooer!

Comment by Rob


Dont forget the online tournament once some online games are out early 2007.

Planning vs Non-Planning wasnt it?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Ha … definitely. And given the boys in NYC have a PS3, Wii AND XBox 360, we should have a variety of formats to challenge them on. [Though I got smashed on FIFA by Billy Whizz last night!]

Comment by Rob

Im only buying one of the 360 or PS3 (prob 360 unless PS3 drops in price significantly before I buy an HD tv (Bravia probably).

Looking forward to the challenge though 😀

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It’s all about Gears of War folks… bring it on!

Comment by Age

I’ve got that game … LETS PLAY!

Comment by Rob

Gamer tag: Full Tone.
Add me and prepare to die!!
Or depending on the game, have multiple goals scored against you.

Comment by Age

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