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

Investing In Disaster …
October 2, 2007, 8:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Look at this ad for the National Australia Bank.

On one hand it say’s nothing about the Bank … and yet at the same time, it say’s EVERYTHING about them and not one bit of it is good.

Apart from the fact this commercial spouts the same sort of bland bollocks that countless financial organisations scream [We’ll help you reach your goals!] … it is unbelievably badly written, cast and executed and represents the sort of self-indulgent advertising that I thought the World [and clients] had finally confined to the dustbin marked ’80’s Excess’.

I don’t know if I should be impressed with the advertising person who managed to sell this piece-of-shit campaign through or deeply, deeply fucked off [thinking about it, the latter seems the most appropriate action]  … however one thing I am certain of is that if this is the sort of thing NAB thinks is a wise investment, then I never want them advising me on any of my financial needs for as long as I live.

You just know the agency showed the client a bunch of ads like Tango Blackcurrant and Honda’s Impossible Dream to get them excited about the script they’d rustled up … but just because an execution has been ‘inspired’ by a bunch of famous ‘epic’ ads doesn’t mean you get the benefit of a cumulative response … infact if anything you get the opposite reaction because people have seen that sort of thing before and often in a much better execution.

The point NAB seems to be missing [especially if the Tango and Honda ads were used as a point of reference] is that if you are investing in your brand you should be telling people about who you are, what you believe, what your philosophy is, what you want to achieve … not spend millions of dollars and ninety seconds expressing category clichés in a badly written television commercial that could be for any fucking bank if they were stupid enough to approve this script.

Of course the ultimate investment in brand is actually ‘practicing what you preach’ … however if you must advertise, then the best thing to do is to express the values of the organisation, not the rules of the category … afterall, in a World of parity and imitation, brand values are pretty much the last thing that is corporately plagiarist-proof!

Charles wrote a great post about all this a while back … but as I can’t remember if it was on his fantastic blog or a comment on mine about Smirnoff … you should hassle him to write about it all again.

19 Comments so far
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That’s not who Goodby’s are working for is it? I hope not, it’s terrible. I also spotted references to your ”Big ad” and ”The Big Lebowski” film. It’s lazy advertising, using a generic insight and no imagination which says all I need to know about NAB

Comment by Pete

Pete, the Australian bank Goodby’s are working for is the Commonwealth so you’re belief in their power can remain for now.

This is really bad Robert, should we have “a word” given our situation with the chicken lot?

Comment by George

Ya’ll can thank Clemenger in Melbourne for that ad.
It screened during the AFL grand final (fast becoming the Aussie super bowl ad wise) and I must say Rob, I agree 100% with everything you’re saying.

*sigh* when is a bank simply gonna tell it like it is?

Comment by Age

Pile of shite. Absolute pile of shite. There are so many things that make me angry about this pile of shite that I don’t know where to start.

There’s no insight is there. Nothing. Nada. A big pile of shite. As Age says, when are banks going to really tell it like it is. That a bank, is just a bank. They can’t make your dream come true, they more than often fuck you over and earn lot’s of money from the misery your huge overdraft. So climb every mountain. Climb up your own arse more like. Pile of shite.

So, now to the pile of shite execution. This really, really, REALLY makes me fucking angry. That 1.30min pile of shite would have been a better pile of shite had it only been 10secs. But, and it’s a big fucking but, they would have had to completly re-write and re-cast.

They would have also had to take the video recorder away from the nephew of the bank’s CEO, and gotten themselves someone with a little bit more skill. Someone like Mr Potato head (without eyes).

But worst of all, what really, really, really FUCKS ME OFF – is it’s just plain boring.

Pile of steaming shite that is.


Comment by The Kaiser

Theres a slightly reasonable 30 second ad idea hiding in that 1 minute 20 seconds of badly made boredom. Nothing more though.

Bad bad bad direction. In fact the only shot I liked was where he pushes open the office doors… and even that cuts badly to a crappy shot of workmen.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oooooooh it’s nice to hear anger in people again – especially Marcus. The comments made are exactly what we said to Egg when we first worked with them in the US … infact we gave them a book called “BANKS BEHAVING BADLY” which basically was a compendium of people saying the same sort of thing.

Luckily they got it [which led to the MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL HAPPINESS campaign] but they were most definitely the exception and even they have fallen into the pool of generality.

I hate pretty much everything in this NAB ad – especially how it makes my industry look to the casual observer.

I am sure Clems Melbourne got paid a bucketload for it [and they are going to be getting a serve soon for a situation they have manipulated that’s put me in a very horrid situation] but will the money cover their costs once NAB fuck off having realised how stupid they were for agreeing to make that commercial?

Oh, and the shot that you talk about Mr M, is very similar to the Tango ‘St George’ spot with the seamless link between office and White Cliffs of Dover … but for once I don’t think immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s more the sincerest form of daylight robbery – which is ironically the business practice of many a financial organisation.

Comment by Rob

It’s a big steaming pile of shite.

Comment by The Kaiser

Kaiser: The Barry Norman of ad evaluation.

Comment by Rob

Well actually, I do tend to agree with The Kaiser on this one.

It’s a pile of steaming poo.

Comment by Barry Norman

You all are missing the message, the bank is telling you like it is – NEVER GIVE A BANK YOUR MONEY!

Comment by Hari

Ah yes. You are right Rob, it is very similar.

“give us your money and we will fritter it on shite ads whilst giving you fuck all interest”

(Sorry Mrs C)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

When the Campaign Palace did that lovely Westpac campaign about them signing a global agreement to never knowingly invest in anything that would damage the environment or communities [Some Of The Biggest Disasters On Earth Have Been Funded By Banks] charitable organisations bought millions of dollars of shares in them the next day because they could see this was a company that truly shared their values and hopes … my question is just what the hell do NAB think this campaign is going to achieve – apart from wall-to-wall slagging off?

Comment by Rob

Well I like their love of mountains. That wins my dollar every fucking time.

Comment by The Yeti

The first 60 seconds of this clip:

work for me. You could build on that for a bank.

Comment by The Kaiser

I didn’t know it was for a bank. Sod the rest of the ad, it might as well have been for anything.

Comment by Will

I thought it was incontinence pants.

(or possibly red socks…)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh god. I am SO embarrassed for them. That is absolutely APPALLING.

Comment by Angus

This is actually worse than the “I am” Nokia N-series commercial that angers me every time I turn on the telly.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

confidence certainly does go a long way, but having maxxed out my nab credit card doing my own version of ‘climbing mountains’ over here, i don’t reckon the nab are going to do anything other than send me a big fucking bill and a nasty letter when i’m late with payments. they’re campaign is full of bollocks.

and, it’s a minor point, but we don’t have buses like that in ANY major city of australia, so i don’t quite know whose dissaffected city workers they’re trying to talk to.

Comment by lauren

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