Social Media Success Story by Australian Bank – Not Quite


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Australian mega-bank nab has been widely praised for a marketing campaign it launched on Valentines Day.

The campaign is interesting and to understand the significance you need to read up on the situation that allows Australia’s four largest banks to operate in this market as a virtual “oligopoly on steroids

The campaign was labelled The Break Up

nab break up campaign - marketing dressed up as social media

Down here in Australia, a number of business commentators have talked up the brilliance of this campaign – labelling it a social media success story.

I think labelling this “campaign” a social media success story is wrong for a number of reasons.

1. It’s not original

Queenslanders Credit Union ran a campaign in November 2010 at the height of consumer backlash over the behaviour of the banking oligopoly who increased interest rates over and above the official RBA increase.

Go and check out their Facebook page – go back through the history to November and you’ll note the similarities.

Queenslanders CU - the original break up letter

The Queenslanders campaign was actually pretty smart, not least because it was a pure social media campaign – Facebook, blog, YouTube, and Twitter – quick to market, engaged with consumers around an important issue, and encouraged action by the consumer.

2. It’s all about the bank and their brand.

Me Me Me – the consumer message is lost in their gloating over what they’ve done. How much bank brand content did you have to consume before you got to the core message?

What’s amusing is that when you scroll down the homepage of the micro site the whole exercise starts to look like a glorified case study for the marketing agency.

Brands can successfully integrate themselves into the social space – have a look at what Avery Dennison is doing on Facebook – an example of engagement with a very clear segment of their customer base.

3. There is no engagement in the comments

One of the central tenements of social media is engagement – of understanding consumer issues and being able to engage in dialogue. When I look at the comments on the posts they’ve published I don’t see a lot of engagement or genuineness – it feels very controlled – rote.

4. It’s not obvious why their changes are relevant.

Why should I care? Nothing about this marketing stunt communicated why I should care. Really successful campaigns like Ford’s Fiesta Movement – as described by US social media expert Jason Falls clearly articulate purpose and tell me why I should care.

Ford created a new way of communicating with its customers and showed the world how to do social media on scale

In summary, this looks like a marketing stunt – like a typical multi-channel marketing stunt that just happened to use some social media channels to distribute the message.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


  1. The bank isn’t out to win the praise of social media experts, nor are they out to win “Most Original Campaign of The Year” awards. Like most advertisers, NAB is just trying to get noticed.

    You deride NAB even though this “typical multi-channel marketing stunt” generated tons of free press, garnered a lot of attention from the public, and upset their competitors?

    Label it a “social media fail” if you must. I say it’s a PR, guerilla marketing and advertising win.


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