Every time I hear the advert on the radio or see it on the TV it drives me into an absolute rage – how can they run a campaign like that, it’s ironic, it’s insensitive, it’s untrue ….it’s a meaningless marketing tagline and message designed to make them stand out.
The “message” is that we are different because we really care about you, we consider our customers in a different way, we know our customers, we are sensitive to our customers needs, we are customer focused.
When you come up with a PR or advertising campaign it must be true in order for it to work.
It’s not about fancy taglines and cool adverts – it should be about capturing the real essence and truth about that business and then delivering on that promise.
Think of the simple “Ronseal” principle – “It does exactly what it says on the tin“. When you get this right it works.
Stephanie Meehan brought the nation to tears about a month ago on the Late Late show with her heartbreaking story about her husband Fiachra who took his own life due to the pressure of the Priory Hall debacle – A badly built home that they were put out of nearly two years ago because it was so unfit for purpose.
Her story was one of reckless builders and an insensitive bank who would not take circumstances or emotions into account and kept hounding her and her family for money they were not in a position to repay. Unfortunately something had to give ..
The incredibly brave Stephanie, when she was strong enough told her story to the media, which culminated in the appearance on the RTE Late Late show.
After the sobering and tear jerking story on the show there was an audience prize giveaway and an appearance by some band and smiles were back on everyone’s faces - the show is about entertainment and they have a duty to mix the content but I was surprised at how quickly we could move on.
“That’s very sad, poor girl ….next!” – do we move on that quick?
Personally I wasn’t surprised when I heard about Stephanie’s family story – for years now I have heard countless stories about banks who have been showing no mercy to anyone as they push through their agenda and pick at the bones of what remains of people and their businesses. People have been destroyed and good businesses have been shut down because of this behaviour – how many other lives have been destroyed I wonder?
I fully understand that the banks have a job to do but we all know and fully understand the circumstances of our economy, the huge role that the banks played in fuelling the problem – decency, understanding and mercy should be ethics that we all follow in our professional and personal lives and the banks are no exception.
Stephanie’s appearance had the effect of the bank waiving part of her debt “given the specific circumstances of the tragic case” – well done! In my personal view this was just PR pressure – they knew of her “specific circumstances” well before her Late Late appearance.
This is a game we all know and understand …if you don’t sort it out I’ll run to the media and if the story gets enough media attention you will be forced to do something (it worked recently for Tim O’Brien who cycled to Dublin to get a medical card decision revoked for his daughter)
Was there a public apology, was there a genuine promise and commitment that they would investigate their internal procedures, did they assure us that they would interview everyone involved in this case?
I didn’t see or hear about it if they did.
Instead we get a brand new advertising campaign – was it already planned, was it to balance the poor PR from the incident ….is it a true reflection of their bank and their values?
I know it is a totally different thing but in Liverpool, 24 years after the Hillsborough tragedy where 96 Liverpool FC fans lost their lives The Sun newspaper is still boycotted – this is due to their hurtful and incorrect coverage of the incident at the time.
They don’t forget or forgive in that town.
One week after Stephanie Meehan’s Late Late appearance we were getting:
KBC “Join the Bank that’s all about you” …. “KBC – The Bank of You” ….hmmmm
It drives me mad – Why do we move on and forget so easily?
Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion
Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin.