Brands War: When Nigerian Banks Took to Twitter


    Raheem Akingbolu

    The twitter war among banks, which was originally triggered by Sterling Bank, has no doubt exposed the underbelly of the cut-throat competition between banks in the country and how their communications and campaigns would have been if not for regulations and requirements of banks advertising campaign.

    On one hand, the spats have provided a comic relief for those, who have been following the exchanges even if they would wish they continue until further notice.

    It all started when Sterling Bank tweeted that, “In shooting for the moon, men become stars” with the kicker: “choose a partner that takes you higher.” To make the message sink in and be more discernible to bromide of the Lagos skyline showing choreographed pictures of big banks like Union Bank, UBA and First Bank.

    Not to be outdone, Union Bank reminded Sterling that if it went to the space without spacesuit, it would be best of luck. First Bank also admonished that it would be “straight to the trashcan” and also advised it to respect its elders.

    First Bank was not done. Waxing cultural, it stated that what an elder sees while sitting down, a toddler cannot view even with a ladder. It was obviously exploiting the gulf between it and Sterling.

    Using a motif of a puppy and its mother, Union Bank also said that when elders speak, naturally, youngsters should hold their peace and the mother puppy used her hand to cover the mouth of the garrulous younger one.

    Access Bank stated that even if it was a micro-finance bank with just a branch and ten million customers, they would rather bring the galaxy to their customers than take them to the moon.

    These exchanges, as comical as they look, have brought out the creativity of goose behind these Twitter exchanges.

    Wale Adigun, a customer with Stanbic IBTC Bank, whose bank was not part of the online battle said it was a spat that was unnecessary. To him, the bank that started the spat was actually looking for attention in the first place.

    “It was unnecessary,” Adigun told THISDAY. “They didn’t need such exchanges in the first place. They have only provided free comic show for onlookers.”

    Meanwhile, the current development has only reminded customers of the happenings at the peak of the consolidation and the post-consolidation era, when banks were churning out different strategies to show their market relevance.

    It was the time the banking public understood the import of the age-old aphorism that ‘Customer is king’. Aside from innovative campaigns, promoters of various banks were coming out with consumer-centric innovations and campaigns that would enable them win more patrons.

    At least, not less than 10 banks came out with one strategy or the other to make their positioning statements.

    However, with the nature of the recent campaigns and their acerbic pun, it is believed in many quarters that the trend is fast running contrary to the principle of fair competition.

    To this end, pundits have called on regulatory authorities to nip the ugly development in the bud.