NAB says sorry for offending country music fans

NAB has removed a radio ad from air after complaints that the spot was offensive to country music fans.

The bank has also apologised to its customers on Facebook and Twitter for the 30-second spot that suggested not everyone likes the country music genre.

‘You can be certain, not everyone likes country music. But we’re certain, no one likes monthly account fees,’ the voiceover says in the ad, which prompted complaints from country music fans in social media.


The ad was part of a series of a number of music-themed executions to promote the fact that NAB does not charge monthly fees.

The advertiser’s decision to remove the ad from air was welcomed by some country fans, but met with bewilderment from others who thought that the bank should have stood by the ad.

Mumbrella understands that other executions are set to launch with the same principle and similar wording, using different genres of music, for example heavy metal. These executions are expected to launch this week.

The agency behind the campaign was Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. Clems denied that the decision to remove the ad was a publicity stunt, a tactic NAB has deployed in the past with its famous ‘Break up’ campaign.

NAB was unavailable for comment.

Robin Hicks


  1. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    19 Feb 13
    12:22 pm

  2. I don’t think it’s a bad idea i.e. Comparing something people can relate to (music) and the different preferences people have (genres) in the context of music.

    It’s a cool (campaign), it’s just a shame that people tend to focus on something particular that relates to them.

    I’m not a fan of Heavy Metal Music. I’m not a fan of monthly account fees either.

    People get the chance to voice their opinions freely, and its ironic that brands have to pay to do so…

  3. K
    19 Feb 13
    12:27 pm

  4. Gee people are so sensitive these days

  5. Jack B. Nimble
    19 Feb 13
    1:04 pm

  6. WTF! People are now complaining about a totally true statement that not everybody likes country music?

  7. Ruhfus
    19 Feb 13
    1:26 pm

  8. NAB should have the backbone to tell Sean to chill out and take a joke.

    Not a bd campaign in my opinion. NAB has a long way to go in terms of catching up to the big three.

  9. Ben
    19 Feb 13
    1:37 pm

  10. Another thing’s for certain; country music fans have no sense of humour.

  11. lady
    19 Feb 13
    1:48 pm

  12. Is this for real? Everyone who complains about this ad needs to take it down a notch.

  13. Black toothed grin
    19 Feb 13
    2:19 pm

  14. Dear country music fans: grow a thicker skin. Not everyone likes your music. FACT. Deal with it.

  15. Tim Daley
    19 Feb 13
    2:27 pm

  16. The problem for country fans is this kind of advertising reinforces negative stereotypes of country music that country music fans have been dealing with for years. When fancy ad agencies portray country music, it’s often hay bales, people with missing teeth, backwards hicks etc. Country fans are sensitive to this kind of portrayal.

  17. Barkeep
    19 Feb 13
    3:32 pm

  18. The real reason they pulled it was because Ray Hadley threatened to not let them advertise.

  19. lady
    19 Feb 13
    3:43 pm

  20. @Tim Daley, at what point in the ad were country music fans portrayed as any of that?

  21. Tim Daley
    19 Feb 13
    3:52 pm

  22. lady – equating something people hate, bank fees to something else people hate, country music is just enough to get their back up. Country Music fans are passionate and constantly have to defend their turf.

  23. Richard Moss
    19 Feb 13
    4:01 pm

  24. Grow up! The opera has been the but of jokes for centuries.
    Not one Opera was ever written that featured a fat woman in a horned helmet, yet that image is brought forward whenever Opera is to be lampooned.

    The great truth about art, including music, is that it is a matter of personal preference. It is certain that not everyone loves opera, and that goes for jazz, folk, rock, hip hop, and that twangy lachrymose form known as Country and Western.

    What did they want them to say? “Everybody Lurvs C&W “

  25. Barkeep
    19 Feb 13
    4:03 pm

  26. Hey lady – I think that’s a chip on Tim Daley’s shoulder or you need to type slower.

  27. Bob trevel
    19 Feb 13
    4:03 pm

  28. It would have been a storm in a teacup once the entire campaign rolled out. I’m glad they are going to play the rest of the ads… But if they no longer do the country music ad, it’s offensive to the other genres. What makes country music worthy of extra special treatment over, say, jazz, blues, rock, classical? Show some backbone NAB. This move makes you look weak and allows a minority (within country music fans) to have control. Crazy crazy crazy.

  29. Comment One
    19 Feb 13
    4:05 pm

  30. me, me, me, get in the first post, me me me me me……

    I love country music

  31. Groucho
    19 Feb 13
    4:34 pm

  32. I don’t like brussel sprouts.
    Sorry if I’ve offended anybody.
    I withdraw my remark.

  33. Inspector Gadget
    19 Feb 13
    5:00 pm

  34. Agency beat up for PR.

  35. lady
    19 Feb 13
    5:20 pm

  36. I don’t think anyone realized C&W listeners were a persecuted minority

  37. Mat
    19 Feb 13
    6:34 pm

  38. Keith Urban ain’t country. He’s a pop star in a cowboy hat. Hank Williams would roll in his grave.

  39. Bec
    20 Feb 13
    7:27 am

  40. No need for NAB to apologise for the ad – from the music I have heard, country musicians relish the opportunity to put their complaints to music. NAB has probably inspired the next #1 hit! Perhaps they should be asking for royalties to make up for lost bank fees? :)

  41. Darth Vader
    20 Feb 13
    8:31 am

  42. Well, clearly country music fans are also all delusional if they think everybody likes their genre of music.

  43. Tim Daley
    20 Feb 13
    9:14 am

  44. Country fans are passionate about their music and have every right to complain if they feel they are being portrayed as an ancient stereotype. It’s the fueling of the perception that country music is bad (equalling something people hate – bank fees) they have a problem with. No country fan expects everyone to like their music. BTW, the term “C&W” or “Country & Western” hasn’t been used for around 40 years.

  45. En Aye Bee
    20 Feb 13
    9:18 am

  46. What happens if you play country music backwards?

    – your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you
    get out of prison.

  47. Lesley
    20 Feb 13
    9:26 am

  48. Companies need to stop making unwaranted apologies.
    It just encourages the rampant hyper-sensitivity permeating through society.

  49. En Aye Bee
    20 Feb 13
    9:39 am

  50. @Lesley

    Or companies should focus harder on offering a good level of service, great products, which benefit the consumer, as well as the ‘company’ (corporate) and try harder to be better corporate citizens.

    “hyper-sensitivity”. Many businesses, large and small are getting sounded out on social networks. No longer can they hide behind the thick walls of red tape (well many still attempt to). Hopefully more companies will change and improve their services and reduce their arrogance.

    Has anyone seen my dog?

  51. BarryK
    20 Feb 13
    1:24 pm

  52. People need to be a little less sensitive, and sit back and realise it’s a funny spot and that no one is harmed in the making of this. Really? People complained? They have way too much time on their hands. Good on you NAB for trying to have a laugh, but shame on your for bowing to social media pressure. I would have given you more credit for standing up for what you obviously thought was a good spot. And for the people who complained, go and wrap yourselves up in cotton wool and stay indoors. The world sounds like it might be too “real” for you and I would hate for you to get hurt by something that 99.9% of people can live with.

  53. En Aye Bee
    20 Feb 13
    2:42 pm

  54. I think NAB should have just rolled with something a little more fun and jovial, such as:

    What has 72 legs and 26 teeth?
    The front row at a country music concert!

    Then they could have just said they were “having a laugh”.

  55. Ricki
    20 Feb 13
    3:39 pm

  56. This from Ricky Gervais as told to Michael Idato….

    “…offence, is never given, its taken. If you’re not offended by something, then there was no offence, it’s as simple as that. If you are offended by something, walk away. I’m offended by things all the time but I haven’t got the right not to be offended, and remember this: just because someone is offended it doesn’t mean they’re right.”

  57. snakenavel
    25 Feb 13
    1:34 pm

  58. I’m a singer-sonwriter nominally labeled a country artist (I also work in film/TV). I’d have to agree that most Australian country music (& Keith Urban’s not the worst of it) is a poor imitation of an already much abused genre in the US – saccharine commercialised pop/rock with ‘country’ instrumentation. Hank would indeed be spinning in his grave.
    Country fans are ultra-sensitive about their music but they need to get a life (a haircut & a real job). Metal fans are similarly dedicated (& hirsute) but they don’t suffer the same siege mentality, despite being open to similar criticisms of taking themselves too seriously.
    Looks like a stunt to me- the ad should be re-instated & turned up.