How @nab created a Twitter sensation and punked Westpac

On Friday night, like most folk on Twitter, I noticed what appeared to be an embarrassing mistweet from NAB.

Not for the first time for a banking brand, it appeared that a junior community manager had failed to log into Twitter from their personal account and accidentally tweeted on the NAB’s behalf:  “Sooooo stressed out. Have to make a tough decision and I know I’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings! Arrggghhh.”

I made a note to tell my fictional colleague Dr Mumbo about it in the morning to poke a little fun.  

nab_stressed_out_tweetThe response to the NAB message from Twitter users was mainly one of amusement, tinged with sympathy. It was retweeted more than 100 times.

Even Westpac got in on the act, tweeting: “Hey @nab know the feeling”.

westpac_know_the_feeling_tweetAnd they certainly do – last year a member of Westpac’s social media team accidental tweeted: “Oh so very over it today.”

Westpac’s sympathetic response to @nab was itself retweeted 68 times.

On Saturday morning though, all became clear.

nab daily teleThe splash in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph was NAB’s move to start paying early exit fees for CBA and Westpac mortgage holder- it was a pre-Valentines Day push to persuade unhappy customers to split with their bank.

Getting it on the front page of the Tele was a pretty good PR move on its own, of course. Punking Westpac into promoting the offer – sheer brilliance.

For those that had missed it, @nab followed up with a link to this video blog from dating columnist Zoe Foster.

And then a link to the press release.

I spoke to NAB  this morning. Impressively, the social media stunt was the idea and work of its own social media team, rather than any of its agencies.

Funnily enough, today’s Twitter response is somewhat divided.

For every “Nice stunt @nab. You got me”, there’s also a “Friend on the @nab thing: ‘hey! lets manipulate the demographic because we see the population as sheep, not individuals’.”

And authenticity in social media is indeed a risky thing to play with. But for me, the fact that it was playful, and with a swift reveal, puts this in the acceptable box. And considering NAB’s got less than 3000 Twitter followers, it was a great way of multiplying its reach in social media.

What is also impressive is that NAB was willing to take a risk.

Well played, @nab. Well played.

Tim Burrowes


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