Over the weekend, something interesting and concerning transpired on Nigeria’s social media sphere.
At least four commercial banks were at daggers drawn throwing shades and jabs at one another. Now tagged ‘Bank Wars’ was said to have been initiated by a tier lender using imagery and brand icons of its competitors with the quote ‘By shooting for the moon, men become famous’.
The strength in the imagery and the quote was not only aptly depicted but imbued with innuendos that make it a masterstroke leaving its targets no choice than to respond with ballistic responses that ended up turning it into a ‘War of Banks’.
This phenomenon is not new to the global brand and marketing community because CocaCola and Pepsi had to call an unofficial truce after many years unending and mesmerizing war of ads, memes’ missiles thrown from different perspectives to entertain the world.
The spread of this war, therefore, portends a more interesting time for the Nigerian financial services in particular and the social media scene in general. However, there are pros and cons to this sorts of wars that we might need to keep tabs on so as to learn from it going forward.
The fact that banks can shade themselves via a global platform such as social media shows that they are in a healthy competition that the consumers would benefit from in the medium and long-term. Without knowing, some banks were carrying out an unofficial financial education on how to choose the right bank and what fundamentals to look out for.
It is interesting to note that most of the banks replied with shots that pinpointed the weaknesses of their opponents shows customers the downside to their banks and why they should have a rethink. This is also an interesting time for us in the media and marketing communications community. Our importance will henceforth be recognized as banks will start shopping for the agencies who can produce the right creative missiles and ammunition to fight with.
There is no doubt that the war will spread to the traditional media, despite the censorship from regulators, the wounded and those looking to retaliate will subtly take the ‘Bank Wars’ to the traditional media providing briefs and campaigns for offline media.
There is a downside to this ‘circus’. Banking is a serious business. Seen as the driving force of the financial system, there are some sorts of ‘sacred’ rules and ethics that must be adhered–that social media managers of a bank can post just about anything to acquire followers and trend on Twitter might be a sign of concern for investors and depositors who can question the internal control and security of the banks.
Here is the takeout for all of us:
‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’.
The star is made up hydrogen and helium. Hydrogen has no solid state while helium does not seem to have any temperature or pressure point where they become solid.
The fact that the star is not known to be in a solid state might see everyone becoming a star in the ‘Bank War’ crashing to the earth.
First published in NEXTGEN, a weekly newsletter of SBI Media Limited.