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Australian Bankers Association launches advertising blitz

As political pressures mount on the industry, the Australian Bankers’ Association this weekend launched an advertising campaign portraying the sector as the friend of mum and dad investors.

The ‘Australian Banks Belong To You’ campaign, which is running across TV and full-page advertisements in today’s newspapers, features bank workers describing how over 80 percent of local banks’ profits are returned to shareholders.

The print advertisement features Westpac receptionist Gracie Vella, a 32-year veteran of the bank with the message of “nearly 80 percent of Australian bank profits go straight back to shareholders.”

“Profits don’t belong to the banks, they belong to everyday Australians like you,” says Vella in the thirty second TVC.

“Each of the four banks put out a call to their staff to ask them if they wanted to represent their bank in these advertisements,” an ABA spokesperson told Mumbrella.

“Lots of staff volunteered to take part and were then chosen to represent different areas from across the banks. All of our banks and the staff who work in them play an important role and the campaign will evolve over time to include other banks.”

“There is a lot of misinformation around Australian banks and what they do with their profits,” the spokesperson said. “On any given day you can open a paper, or hear someone talk in the media about banks and the money they make, with no mention of where profits really go.

“In fact, recent research conducted in June this year found that 72 percent of people believe that less than 25 percent of bank profits are returned to shareholders, we know that’s simply not true.  The advertisements are designed to help educate people and make sure they are in possession of the facts.

“The agency we’ve been working with is Industrial and the campaign will feature across print, TV, digital and entertainment streaming services.”

A report in the Australian Financial Review on the weekend claimed political advisor Tony Mitchelmore, who worked with the mining industry on its 2010 campaign against the mining tax, was involved in developing the campaign.

The ABA’s latest effort comes as pressures mount for a Federal Royal Commission into the banking industry following a series of scandals over bank practices.

At the Mumbrella Finance Summit in August, ABA chief Anna Bligh said the Australian banking industry will need more than PR and comms to move beyond its current trust issues and flagged improving customer experience and changing corporate cultures as being essential to overcoming the sector’s current malaise.

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