The Commonwealth Bank can’t help you save but it can generalise, according to Facebook users irked by the bank’s ‘stereotypical’ advertising imagery.
CommBank’s advertising and the credentials of its agency have been called into question by Facebook users after the bank asked what kind of savers they were in a post featuring four young people (pictured).
The ‘erratic saver’ was bearded, ‘habitual’ was female and wearing glasses, ‘methodical’ was also female and ‘inventive saver’ showed a curly haired young man staring dreamily into the distance.
The image prompted more than 300 comments, some took it seriously and explained their savings habits but the majority revelled the opportunity to poke fun at the bank.
One Facebook user said: “It appears all CommBank savers are young, white hipsters.”
This prompted CBA to respond, saying “They were saving before it was cool, Max”.
But others took offence, and questioned the effectiveness of the marketing.
One questioned if there was an “incredibly sexist advertising saver” option available.
“Seriously bad advertising campaign. I suspect half your clients can’t even relate to these stereotypes. Perhaps your agency needs to go back to marketing school,” said another.
“Generalise generalise – girls with glasses save. Blokes with hair and daydream look don’t. Got an advertising budget to ‘account for’.”
Another said: “Didn’t know there were typecast savers. Either way, your advertising campaigns are redonk.”
The flood of comments prompted CBA to respond saying, “in no way did we want to stereotype savers as young hipsters”.
In a post the bank said: “It seems we have a lot of comments about the appearances of our featured savers. Rest-assured we know savers come in all shapes and sizes, which is what our link at…is all about.
“Some erratic shavers are erratic savers, but erratic savers can also be clean shaven! Saving habits varies from person to person, and in no way did we want to stereotype savers as young hipsters.”
It is not the first time CBA’s advertising has attracted the wrong type of attention, in August last year the bank was blasted for an online bomb hoax video that formed part of its large-scale ‘Can’ campaign.
The bank’s former marketing head Andy Lark told B&T then that the video was “unapproved”.
London was on high alert for terrorist activity at the time due to the Olympic Games, and Lark’s comments to B&T that the story was “not even newsworthy” were picked up by press internationally.
Advertising agency M&C Saatchi was behind the ‘Can’ campaign which kicked off with an ad featuring actress Toni Collette.
Meanwhile, Australia’s big four banks – including CBA – have today been ranked as the most profitable in the world for the third year running.
The big four – which also includes National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ – are expected to reach profits of more than $26bn this year.