Replete with scenes of Occupy protests, smooching lesbians and break-dancing, the video, titled "A new normal demands new standards", is an entertaining watch, especially if Danske's banking counterparts follow suit with a PR strategy centred on business ethics: And here's the PR pitch:
|The strategy is intended to restore trust in the bank and ensure that we live up to our new vision of being 'recognised as the most trusted financial partner'. To reach that objective, we must set new standards for banking operations.|
The 'new standards' campaign which is centred on customer interaction, transparency and financial strength, as well as responsibility has been accused of disingenuously touting the bank's virtues as a corporate citizen. The snarky curator of viral videos BuzzFeed has, perhaps unsurprisingly, described the ad as "shameless", charging that the video lacks real empathy, signals no material change in the bank's strategy and, instead, relies on a hip, stylized aesthetic:
|It would maybe feel less hyper-hypocritical if Danske presented some evidence in this TV ad that it is not like every other financial behemoth in the world, or that it was taking extraordinary measures to combat climate change or substandard factory conditions or unequal pay for women.
"Because, right now, it just looks like Danske has done nothing but make a pretty, outrageously meaningless commercial.
Nevertheless, no publicity is bad publicity, as the old adage goes, and the video has already notched around 32,000 views since its November 15 launch. So far, other banks have largely refrained from a face-value marketing campaign, centred on business ethics, instead focusing on community outreach, such as BNP Paribas' For a changing world and BBVA's Friends and family campaigns.
Expect more debate on the issue of banks and corporate 'sin' in the coming months, a new call-to-arms by Justin Welby, the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Still, if you never buy into an ethos, you never really sell out a lesson Standard Chartered has painfully learned when it provoked public ire for the recent Iran scandal, despite promoting its whiter-than-white corporate culture in recent years.