‘Can’t’ campaign turns to kittens and Twitter

The teaser campaign for the relaunch of what claims to be one of Australia’s most iconic brands has moved into its digital phase – and marshalled one of the internet’s most reliable memes – a cute kitten.

cant resist kitten

Debate is currently raging online about which brand is behind the relaunch – due to be unveiled at the weekend. While consensus is that the project is the work of one of the big four banks, opinion is divided on whether it is CommBank or Westpac.

The What Is Can’t? website – previously parked as a Melbourne IT domain – has now gone live with the large image of the kitten.

twitter what is cantThe site also links to a Twitter profile which has been tweeting since Sunday on such philosophical topics as “If a tweet is sent but there are no followers to read it, does the tweet exist?”. The Twitter account has been posting about heavily hashtagged topics, and inserting the #CANT into the conversation.

What is #CANT?

A teaser campaign for the rebranding of an iconic Australian brand is built around the word "can’t" More at http://mumbrella.com.au/iconic-australia-brand-to-launch-revamp-campaign-is-it-commbank-92683

Storified by Tim Burrowes · Mon, May 21 2012 19:21:31

That insecure feeling not knowing if anyone will read your very first tweet. #FirstWorldProblems. #CANT tell.CAN’T
If a tweet is sent but there are no followers to read it, does the tweet exist? #CANT philosophy. Not quite #Kant philosophy.CAN’T
Bet you plenty of people in #Sydney #CANT get out of bed tomorrow #SydneyHalfMarathon @smhonlineCAN’T
#CANT wait for room reveal tonight! #TheBlockCAN’T
Surely #CANT leave now? #Drogba #Chelsea #UCL http://ow.ly/b1xmqCAN’T
#CANT take that as a comment #qandaCAN’T
So much deliciousness on @MasterChef last night. #CANT wait for the next dinner partyCAN’T

Pointers towards it being CommBank:

One factor pointing to CommBank is timing. M&C Saatchi recently picked up Commonwealth Bank, and new chief marketing officer Andy Lark has now been in the role long enough to begin to make a decisive mark.

In another small clue, CommBank’s press office is yet to deny it is behind the campaign – 24 hours after being asked by Mumbrella, the bank has not returned a comment, a relatively unusual move by a usually efficient press team.

Another senior source within the marketing team has indicated that there would be more to say later in the week. This ties in with an invitation to an embargoed press briefing at a mystery Sydney CBD location on Friday.

Another hint comes from the fact that the domain is registered to Melbourne IT, which also manages other CommBank domains.

An anonymous person claiming to have the inside story has posted on Mumbrella:

This is a 7-day teaser campaign for the CBA brand strategy revamp to launch on Sunday night. Lark briefed all (execs) and sundry (marketing teams) last Friday at a secret squirrel off-site meeting. This week, all 1023 branches will receive a sealed package with explicit instructions not to open it until 28 May 2012. Managers of branches, call centres and back office areas have been instructed to arrive early next week to support the launch at their site.

Pointers towards it being Westpac:

Commenters on Mumbrella have pointed towards the fact that a contact name on the registration for the domain is somebody called Ashley King. They also point towards a LinkedIn profile for somebody of the same name who works at Westpac.

Like CommBank, Westpac’s press office has not yet commented on whether it is behind the campaign.

The teaser campaign coincides with the tail end of a similar one to the much discussed – and in some quarters criticised – “Wake Up” campaign to promote BlackBerry.

blackberry cant

Update 11.20: The kitten image on the ‘Can’t’ campaign website was replaced temporarily with a crop circle.


  1. Pascoe
    22 May 12
    10:00 am

  2. This might well work, but I’d suggest it’s more because of the weight of the media spend, rather than the curiousity/mystery angle itself.

    From my personal point of view, I’m a little bored with teaser campaigns (but again, that’s a focus group of one, doesn’t just by my feelings mean it won’t “work”).

  3. Darren
    22 May 12
    10:18 am

  4. Looking at dominant colour most likely Westpac

  5. Slight over claim
    22 May 12
    10:33 am

  6. “Debate is currently raging online”…. really, are you sure?

  7. Notmyrealname
    22 May 12
    10:36 am

  8. If it is for a bank, they’ve got it wrong by one, crucial, letter. (Hint: it’s a vowel)

  9. Daniel G
    22 May 12
    10:42 am

  10. The ‘Can’t resist’ kitty is only one of many images used on the teaser site. Keep refreshing it, and the words and picture change. For example:
    – ‘Can’t cooperate’: a pair of moose locking horns.
    – ‘Can’t hide’: two suited men on a beach with their heads in the sand,
    – ‘Can’t manage’: close-up of a baby’s face almost in tears.
    – ‘Can’t explain’: a crop circle.
    – ‘Can’t decide’: the only video I’ve seen, of a hand flipping a (what looks like a Euro) coin.

  11. chuck
    22 May 12
    10:48 am

  12. can’t be bothered.

  13. Jeepers
    22 May 12
    11:18 am

  14. I can’t wait for the reveal of this! Everyone is talking about it, at the watercooler, at the bus stop, on TV…..it is going to be high-fives of the highest high fiving if it ends up being for a bank.

    Can’t? Cant’ wait for the reveal more like it!

  15. can't spell
    22 May 12
    11:36 am

  16. an apostrophe wouldn’t go astray.

  17. Ricki
    22 May 12
    12:55 pm

  18. If it IS Westpac aka my mortgage lender then the Can’t must stand for…’Can’t deliver the full RBA interest rate decrease because we love profits more than customers’. Hurrah!

  19. DaveReporter
    22 May 12
    12:56 pm

  20. If it’s a bank I CAN’T wait for the flipside campaign

    Which bank CAN’T deliver on promises?
    Which bank CAN’T provide customer service?
    Which bank CAN’T stop charging exorbitant fees?

    Let the fun begin!

  21. Ben
    22 May 12
    12:58 pm

  22. @jeepers – really, the watercooler? I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic, or working for the agency.

  23. Rens
    22 May 12
    1:03 pm

  24. Surely no Aussie bank would use a clip of someone flipping a British 2 pound coin ??

  25. Mole
    22 May 12
    1:17 pm

  26. Yep

  27. Mole
    22 May 12
    1:18 pm

  28. Yep It’s a campaign by mcsaatchi for CBA. I can confirm that for you. But CAN’T tell you who am i

  29. joe p
    22 May 12
    1:33 pm

  30. CAN’T match RBA interest drops!

  31. Carole Goldsmith
    22 May 12
    2:32 pm

  32. Ads like this are just annoying and I switch off. Sounds like a NAB ad to me.

  33. crimmins
    22 May 12
    2:34 pm

  34. CBA & Westpac…what a pack of CANTS

  35. Fiona
    22 May 12
    2:36 pm

  36. Mumbrella is doing a good job of driving interest; figures dont seem to be that high around micro site and the twitter account

  37. Carole Goldsmith
    22 May 12
    2:38 pm

  38. Which bank charges high fees, which bank can’t look after its customers….? Which bank can’t deliver on promises.

    My vote for best banks is ING and they rarely advertise. They can do everyhing, so it is not ING.

    ING has no fees, ING looks after its customers, and you can start as many accounts as you like, great customer service and great rates….so it is not ING…hooray for ING.

  39. Roxy
    22 May 12
    3:14 pm

  40. Hooray for you Carole!
    And Hooray for ING’s irritating orang-utan. Too much ING advertising for me!

  41. CharlieChip
    22 May 12
    3:45 pm

  42. Cute Kitty. Maybe it’s RSPCA?

  43. Jeepers
    22 May 12
    4:24 pm

  44. @ben yes, sarcastic. Sadly, it sounds like agency folk.

  45. Greedy Teller
    22 May 12
    8:56 pm

  46. CBA put up the price of bank cheques, from $5.40 to $10. They can’t be serious can they? They were. They can do what they like. Why can’t we kick these bankers up the wotsit and make them honest?

    John McEnroe could be in this campaign that I am guessing will get hijacked by the mob on Twitter :)

  47. Anonymous
    22 May 12
    11:44 pm

  48. Keep refreshing the page there are many can’t “ideas”

  49. person x
    24 May 12
    9:16 am

  50. “Debate is currently raging online” amongst advertising people. the rest of the country doesn’t give a toss. all spectacle no substance. big money media buying is no substitute for lack of an idea. garbage.

  51. wont
    25 May 12
    4:51 pm


  53. Ponytalebuzzwordguy
    26 May 12
    10:46 am

  54. It’s a campaign by a bunch of dumb can’ts, targeted at other dumb can’ts. I can not believe its 2012 and people are still falling for these teaser campaigns.