Bank rage: The last straw

So I always honour PR embargoes.

But in Heritage Bank’s case, I’m willing to make an exception.

Thank you, Heritage Bank, for the box of straw that’s just exploded onto my lap.

heritage bank hay

It would seem that Heritage’s way of drawing attention to its bank rage campaign is by inducing rage in journalists. About now, a similar scene will be unfolding in various newsrooms as the Heritage booby trap arrives by overnight delivery from Toowoomba.

Good luck with that.

bye bye bank rage

Tim Burrowes


  1. Kate
    28 Jun 12
    10:52 am

  2. OMG! Is there a diamond or something among the hay?!

  3. Uncle Chopper
    28 Jun 12
    11:00 am

  4. Harden the fuck up Tim

  5. Anonymous
    28 Jun 12
    11:05 am

  6. #PRfail

  7. inq
    28 Jun 12
    11:07 am

  8. Cupcakes might be more effective. I agree. Journos having to deal with hay is not going to end well. Especially if they have hay fever. Or had to traipse to a mail room to get it.

  9. Matt Granfield
    28 Jun 12
    11:18 am

  10. Well, to be fair Tim, it was a pretty standard Australia Post mailing box, did you open it upside down?

  11. Nicole
    28 Jun 12
    11:19 am

  12. Tim – was this the last straw?

  13. Mark - Ross Davie Advertising
    28 Jun 12
    11:20 am

  14. I’m guessing you took some tomatoes out?

  15. Ms PR
    28 Jun 12
    11:25 am

  16. How does straw cure bank rage?
    Hopefully the head of the bank will issue an apology

  17. sshhh!
    28 Jun 12
    11:27 am

  18. “What is bank rage?
    The overwhelming feeling of anger and helplessness an individual feels when treated with disdain and disrespect by their big bank.” –

    It’s like being offered a bunch of cheesy vox-pops of happy customers, like being told how easy it is to switch banks, like telling me that they are safe and secure, but not giving me a single bit of information that makes them different to my bank and making me think I might make a switch.

  19. Tony
    28 Jun 12
    11:29 am

  20. Yeah the Hay is annoying but it seems to have worked.

  21. Christen
    28 Jun 12
    11:30 am

  22. I got one too…. made a terrible mess on my desk….

    Silly stunt but kinda like the survey results…will we respect the embargo? well now that mumbrella’s gone there… I suspect we can too…

  23. Adam Cubito
    28 Jun 12
    11:37 am

  24. Looks like this was the straw that broke the Mumbo’s back?

  25. john Kerswell
    28 Jun 12
    12:04 pm

  26. I’m guessing there’s a needle in there somewhere?

    And finding a ‘good bank’ is like finding it.

    Next week, look out for a box of hen’s teeth and a calendar with a month of Sundays printed in it.

  27. J. Davis
    28 Jun 12
    12:05 pm

  28. As the person who plays Hayman in the TV show DirtGirlWorld all I can say is “Hey”.

  29. archie
    28 Jun 12
    12:07 pm

  30. wasn’t Heritage Bank the outfit that told everyone how to do proper bank marketing at Mumbrella 360?

    if they can’t get simple trade PR right, what does that say?

  31. ashton
    28 Jun 12
    12:07 pm

  32. I’m sure there’s a needle in a haystack gag there somewhere…

  33. Ed Smith
    28 Jun 12
    12:09 pm

  34. @Nicole Bahahaha

  35. Gigi
    28 Jun 12
    12:11 pm

  36. Umm… call me stupid but WTF has straw got to do with banks or bank rage?? As a PR myself, I’m left a little perplexed at this stunt. I guess you had to be there…

  37. Dave
    28 Jun 12
    12:11 pm

  38. This might only be the start.. keep an eye out for a donkey on the doorstep.

  39. Hassan Mohammed
    28 Jun 12
    12:11 pm

  40. Idea is executed great. Affected journalist in a positive manner. Like this work. More posts please like this.

  41. Phil Tripp
    28 Jun 12
    12:12 pm

  42. It reminds me of dumb music biz PRs who used to pack their envelops with glitter. When opened the tiny pieces lodged in keyboards and trackballs as well as all over the desk and floor.

  43. Dave
    28 Jun 12
    12:13 pm

  44. Good PR fail.. but not epic. That honour goes to the rocket scientists who sent a package hilariously disguised as a time-bomb to an Adelaide liquor store. Unsurprisingly, half the suburb went into lockdown while the bomb squad checked it out. Fun yarn that day.

  45. Annette
    28 Jun 12
    12:14 pm

  46. I may need another coffee – what’s the link between curing bank rage and hay?

  47. Janine
    28 Jun 12
    12:17 pm

  48. I hadn’t heard of Heritage Bank til this Mumbrella post. Not sure how a box of straw cures bank rage though.

  49. RB
    28 Jun 12
    12:23 pm

  50. INQ – Last Tim was sent cupcakes he ragged on them too.
    This article doesn’t give enough information about what the purpose of the “stunt” was, no doubt there was more info than is being provided.
    My advice to all Advertisers, Agencies, and PR houses – don’t send your package to Mumbrella

  51. melanie
    28 Jun 12
    12:29 pm

  52. I’m sure there’s a PR company out their looking for a new client – Haystac perhaps

  53. JosieK
    28 Jun 12
    12:30 pm

  54. Or the straw that broke the Mumbrella’s back . .

  55. Spindoctor
    28 Jun 12
    12:37 pm

  56. People pushing stories to the media should never use an embargo as it places the journalist in an invidious position by giving them information they cannot use until a certain time on a certain date. The dilemma for the journo is “Can I use this embargoed information to get other angles or followup to the story or not?” The PRs should program their email system to send the media release out when it can be used.

  57. Sarah Edwards
    28 Jun 12
    12:50 pm

  58. Got you talking Tim so would say it’s a #PRwin simple as that. How many press kits have you ignored? Tim, if I had an industry blog I would want to feel like it was good for the industry which I am sure you don’t feel. You are always so quick to tear shreds off every idea which promotes other mindless trolls jumping on your negative / moaning bandwagon. It’s fine to challenge ideas but don’t promote negativity which you know will lead to a host of horrible comments about a marketing campaign. Before you say it, I am not from the PR agency or Heritage, I am just someone in the industry who is sick of the way you report.

  59. Niq Curry
    28 Jun 12
    12:56 pm

  60. That is brilliant… Maybe its only funny because i’m not the one with hay all over my desk and clothes.

  61. Steven B
    28 Jun 12
    1:13 pm

  62. Could double as a tourism campaign for the town of Hay

  63. Sandy
    28 Jun 12
    1:17 pm

  64. I’m 99% certain that you’ve opened it upside down, then cleverly disguised the blunder by placing the bank’s letter on ‘top’ of the box again for the photograph. Luckily it wasn’t cupcakes!

  65. Mark Patrick
    28 Jun 12
    1:31 pm

  66. Don’t get the hay at all but it certainly worked as you have posted it, which is an achievement in itself!

  67. mumbrella
    28 Jun 12
    1:50 pm

  68. Hi RB,

    I’m afraid I don’t remember the cup cake issue to which you refer. As you’ll see from our list of gifts here, we do get them a fair bit:


    Tim – Mumbrella

  69. Alice
    28 Jun 12
    2:01 pm

  70. Sarah Edwards, you took the words right out of my mouth.

  71. Matt Granfield
    28 Jun 12
    2:04 pm

  72. Just for the record – and I thought I’d clarify since everyone is askign what straw has to do with bank rage – the box had a tomato in it, and a pen. It wasn’t just straw. It wasn’t even straw, it was sugar cane mulch and it was there to protect the tomato. The media release was on top of the mulch. The tomato had a little tag leading to – which all would have made perfect sense if you had the media release in your hand and you read it.

  73. richie
    28 Jun 12
    2:33 pm

  74. what does a tomato in the middle of a box of straw (or sugar cane mulch) have to do with banks? honest q

  75. Nina
    28 Jun 12
    2:39 pm

  76. Could be worse Tim, I sent pasta sauce out in a press kit once, needless to say the GLASS jars smashed en route. You can imagine the reaction I got to that one!

  77. The big question
    28 Jun 12
    2:51 pm

  78. Did the goldfish survive this time?

  79. Ms PR
    28 Jun 12
    2:55 pm

  80. Ever heard of bubble wrap? Even more confused now: sugar cane mulch + tomatoe + pen? Still don’t see the connection. Even without the protective mulch. Hertigage bank PR team note: the idea is that the poor hard working busy journo should see the connection immediately with our without the realease.
    PR win or fail will be determined by the meaurements you have set around the camapaign. Let’s see what media run with it and how that adds value to the brand – we’re just interested and confused.

  81. Matt Granfield
    28 Jun 12
    3:02 pm

  82. Richie, the campaign is about letting people get rid of their bank rage and one of the things we’re doing involves tomatoes. It’s not supposed to make sense out of context, but if you had a media release in front of you it would make be perfectly clear.

  83. Matt Granfield
    28 Jun 12
    3:03 pm

  84. *unlike my typing today

  85. Anon
    28 Jun 12
    3:14 pm

  86. Its a teaser campaign folks.

    They couldn’t afford the big CommBank “CAN” style of teaser campaign so they’re making do with what they can out of Towoomba.

    Next week we’ll get apples packed in old petrol cans, before finally Bob Katter will appear on our screens riding on a donkey reading poetry.

  87. Farm Hand PR
    28 Jun 12
    3:37 pm

  88. Oh, the old sugar cane mulch, tomato and pen PR trick eh. (Roll eyes)

    So last year..!

  89. Aman
    28 Jun 12
    4:09 pm

  90. Love it. Nice one Matt.

  91. Craig
    28 Jun 12
    5:44 pm

  92. Tim,

    If you can’t weave straw into gold I don’t know who can.

  93. Jayess
    28 Jun 12
    6:56 pm

  94. perhaps it was a straw poll?

    or has someone used that already?.

  95. days of whining poseurs
    28 Jun 12
    10:49 pm

  96. Too subtle for me, but getting a free tomato AND pen, AND something with which to stuff a pillowcase – that’s a win!!

    Reminder note – always open a package from a bank over a large clean open garbage bag – just in case.

  97. Confused Grocer
    29 Jun 12
    10:07 am

  98. Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable and why is a bank placing a tomato in pen? (I thought pigs were kept in pens?)

  99. DaveReporter
    29 Jun 12
    10:11 am

  100. Obvious folks – you get the tomato, throw it at the big bad bank’s window and are supposed to feel better. Perhaps they would have been better off sending their PR to SauceBottle??? (Nyuk nyuk nyuk).

    The other thing you could to is to put the tomato in a CAN – Unless of course you CAN’T

    I think the subbies could have a field day with this one – that is if there are any left in newsrooms – my sympathies to colleagues at Fairfax and News.

  101. Spagoni
    29 Jun 12
    2:50 pm

  102. So it seems that we’re all wrong. Banks do give a stuff!

  103. Jörn Sanda
    2 Jul 12
    8:20 am

  104. Was the sun shining?

  105. Postman
    2 Jul 12
    10:45 am

  106. Few! Thank heavens for PR companies who decide to snail mail their PR (which could easily just be emailed). Not only by snail mail, but a parcel too, which costs even more and keeps me in a job! – Postie

    If a PR agency has to create such a stunt is it a sign that they do not have good enough relationships at the publishers end?

    (I am not trolling, more raising the question.) If I had fantastic relationships with journo’s, I could simply pick up the phone, explain what we were doing for my client and email them the press release….?

    (As opposed to sending a, erm, tomato….?!!!!)


  107. Marie
    4 Jul 12
    11:00 am

  108. Postman – If you really want to make a statement – you can do so with a send out. Demands more attention than a call or email and done right, can help get better cut through with the super busy journos.

  109. Doug
    9 Jul 12
    1:45 pm

  110. can you smoke sugar cane mulch?

  111. Will
    11 Jul 12
    7:58 pm

  112. In the 1st pic, the box is indeed upside down. This is why all the straw fell out. Lol at Doug asking if the straw/cane mulch can be smoked or not? I’m sure someone out there has tried it ;0)

  113. Richard Moss
    19 Jul 12
    3:27 pm

  114. Hay, I read this a couple of days back, but took some time to Lucerne up a little before pitching in. The way things stand, this is looking like the last straw.

    Is it , in fact, Straw? It looks a little Hay like, as it sports tiny stems and a small amount of leafy substance, which may or may not be strictly legal, that’s another consideration, having received it through the post, but it may just be straw or pea stalks or Bagasse.

    I suggest that after all the trouble it’s caused, don’t waste it, throw it on the garden.

  115. Ad hack
    23 Jul 12
    5:31 pm

  116. First World Problems….