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Breakup campaign wins Cannes Lions


It was the tired platitude “It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed,” that framed the year’s most innovative Public Relations campaign.
Breakup campaign wins Cannes Lions
It was the tired platitude “It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed,” that framed the year’s most innovative Public Relations campaign. The National Australia bank ended its relationship with the Big Four in an expert PR move led by ad agency Clemenger. The ‘break up’ campaign has now been awarded the coveted grand prix in the Cannes Lions PR competition. The Australian company were bestowed the honour amongst a host of international competition at the French festival, which celebrates excellence in the field of communicative creativity. The campaign, released to coincide with Valentine’s day, personalised the bank with a ‘break-up’ letter and a series of youtube videos describing the love lost between the organisations. “Dear Commbank, Westpac and ANZ,” it starts. “This is a really difficult letter for me to write. I think we all know this has been coming. For a long time now, my friends have been telling me I could do better for myself. That they don’t like how I act when I’m around you. Deep down though, I really just feel that we’ve grown apart.” Research had shown the public perceived the Big Four were colluding against the public, fixing fees and eliminating competition. NAB had tried to differentiate itself by making dramatic changes; abolishing fees and lowering interest rates to be considered fairer and more competitive, but public distrust of the bank meant that campaigns to be more equitable had not gained traction. The purpose of the breakup was to differentiate NAB from its competitors by showing that its policies were in fact different, that they had made to a number changes to benefit their customers, and to alter the great sense of distrust surrounding the bank by ending the perception that the banks were ‘together’. By utilising a series of media channels, social media, advertising, and foremost the news, the campaign attracted nationwide attention. According to Clemenger the campaign earned $5 million worth of PR in a single day, and with that, changed the public’s perception of it entirely. Social media was in fact crucial to the campaign, with a number of unique and innovative strategies. It began with the bank posting a tweet about 'hurting feelings' which began online ‘chatter’. They followed this with a ‘personal’ break up letter, appearing in every major newspapers in Australia. 60 films of NAB bankers breaking up with the other banks nationwide were also posted online. Finally, NAB ‘ambushed’ the other banks with public break up messages, scrawled on the streets and bannered in the sky. The results of the campaign signal its success. It was the most discussed topic on Twitter in the country on the day it was released, and in terms of brand awareness for the bank, positive online posts about NAB increased 320%. The original objective was a 15% lift in loan and credit card enquiries, but since the break up there has in fact been a 79% increase week on week in NAB home loan enquiries, and a 50% increase week on week in NAB credit card applications. Most significantly, there has been a 20% increase week on week new transaction accounts being opened. The Australian representative on the PR Lions jury was One Green Bean boss Kat Thomas, who said to online marketing website Mumbrella: “It’s really allowed us to put Australia on the map and demonstrate that we can and do produce award winning work at an international level.”

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