The Christmas and New Year seasons are just around the corner. We are all aware that the end of long and busy business year may lead in overwhelmingly high amount of tasks to be performed, but what we saw these days is simply outrageous in advertising, communication and authorship terms. Very simple fail whilst creating holiday ad.

holiday ad utterly wrong

To cut the long story short, this small outdoor holiday ad was placed on ATM terminals of UniCredit in Serbia, resulted in huge outrage online. The reason is rather very simple and straightforward. My questions is:

Can you find it (reason) at a first sight?

holiday ad utterly wrong

It can somehow happen that you missed it. In case you did, look carefully up until you see inscription “iStock” on the background picture. Yes, you guess right. Something like this should never be there, and yes, again you are right – it is a royal free picture downloaded from one of many platforms that exist today.

Why did this Picture Cause this Holiday Ad to Fail?

There are few reasons to claim so:

  1. The company in question is a respectful European financial institution. By the nature of their job, they must strive to enhance trust and sympathy from citizens in order to be successful. This further imposing that even though they use low-cost or affordable resources, those must not be visible at any point. It ruins the image, and in banking business image is a big thing.
  2. By realizing the obvious human mistake (the bank openly admitting it, though in a funny and constructive way), public may question how many of “not-obvious” mistakes have been incorporated in their business so far.
    holiday ad utterly wrong
  3. First two dots, combined, might lead in a long run problems in communicating desired message to the audience. Which, should be going down like this: We are the bank, stable and strong enough, to support you in your ups and downs throughout your private and professional life. This is a generic statement but very associated with banks. Do you find  UniCredit Bank reliable enough, knowing that such a mistakes are so evident? I, already, have my own doubts.
  4. Possible violation of copyrights. This need not to be the case here, but is very likely to be completely ignored. Eventually showing that bank does not position itself properly toward results of other’s intellectual activity. We have another even more serious example which we covered: Someone has Issues with Ethics in Marketing – Case of “Fake mums”.

Positive Side of This Misdoing

Whilst reading our previous articles, you might have concluded that we don’t see world in black and white fashion. Therefore, in relation to this holiday ad fail we are coming with some reasons we all should look positively on this example in order to – learn.

  1. As it is stated, company itself accepted responsibility for this misconduct, meaning that they follow what is going on social media (source here). One more example how real time following and customer care combined, mitigate adverse impacts and is a solid base for a long run CRM. Agility with capital A.holiday ad utterly wrong
  2. This example provided us all with a lesson-to-learn. Literally, in region where not much care has been given about the authorship and copyrights, this is a great example and ice-breaker how this kind of mistakes should be tackled.holiday ad utterly wrong

We all would like to hear some comments from the bank itself about the mistakes with this holiday ad. In the end, bank and a responsible designer created another ad.

Hopefully, follow up story to come soon.

Thanks to Darko Vidić & Dušan Reves

Bonus story:  UniCredit’s Directed Guerilla in DeltaCity Elevator

Have a great week ahead,
BalkanMarketingStories Crew