As Nigeria marks another milestone in its post-independence journey, one Bank has demonstrated its faith in the country and her people with the release of an indigenous television production that seeks to rekindle flames of hope in the hearts of the people.
In a cleared departure from the average bank commercials which will typically focus on marketing the institution’s products and services, Union Bank’s two-minute short film communicates strong themes of introspection, perseverance, healing and hope of a better future for Nigerians.
The campaign tagged Enabling Success, highlight the daily struggles of the average Nigerian, his frustrations and the need to keep hope alive, in the midst of difficulties, was part of the bank’s initiative of identifying with its immediate operating environments and share in their pains, especially on a memorable event such as the 58th independence anniversary of the country.
Interestingly the uniqueness of the campaign, for many is the decision of the brand to go on a road less travelled. For instance, while competitions are coming up with commercials, designed, solely to better their business interests and enhance their bottom-lines, the bank is looking beyond that.
It is taking on the role of a social crusader, preaching hope to waning hearts and insisting on the need for Nigerians to remain united, and not fall for the scheme of politicians, intent on keeping them divided in order to exploit them; a queer example of a corporate organization taking on the additional role of a change agent in the society it operates.
The short film highlights the Nigerian society, the different roles being played by both the leaders and the led in undermining her progress, and what needed to be done by every stakeholder to address
the rots in the system.
The bank believes there is the need to quickly address the challenges facing the Nigerian society, so as to put in check the increasing ranks of the disillusioned, aptly described in the commercial as Uncle Thomas.
“Many people have become Uncle Thomases, unwilling to desire or work for a better nation. What would be left for the children of this precious nation?”, the commercial stated.
Through the short film, Union Bank therefore challenges Nigerians not to lose hope or become the ‘ultimate pessimist’, like Uncle Thomas.
Instead, it encourages everyone to continue to believe in a better future and work towards it. One of the strong points of the commercial is its wholly and truly Nigerian TV production, a development that bears eloquent testimony to the bank’s strong commitment to support local businesses.
For instance, besides being co-ordinated by brand agency, Image & Time and Nigerian-owned Lighthouse Television and Filmworks, the TV commercial which was shot on the streets of Kano, Lagos and Enugu, was anchored by a popular Afrobeat musician, Dede Mabiaku.
As a Bank which has been in existence for over a century, Union Bank knows what it means to go through tough times and emerge better, highlighting perseverance as one of the focal points of the commercial, is not definitely not strange. .
“This bank, Union Bank, understands what it means to push through challenges, and yet still believe, and so Union Bank is ready to go with you and together we go clear every doubt wey dey on our way,” the bank confidently says in the last few lines of the commercial.
Not a few have attributed the huge number of viewership, the commercial was able to garner in the first few days of its unveil to the simplicity of the languages, pidgin and English, used to deliver the message.
The Commercial gathered 1 million views on Youtube within the first three weeks of launch, a number that has grown since then. “I think one of the attractions for me is the way the two languages – English and its variant, the pidgin, are used interchangeably in the commercial. What that has achieved is that it makes the message of the commercials accessible to the common man on the street, whose cause is being preached in the commercial,” argued Mr. Eniola Ogundayomi, a marketing communications expert, in his review of the 2.34 –minute commercial.
Union Bank’s nation-building stance is not out of character. As a financial institution with a rich heritage, the Bank has come to be recognised as a trusted partner, helping generations of Nigerian individuals, families and businesses succeed.
Speaking on the new commercial, a Lagos based seasoned marketing communications practitioner, Uwendimo Ekong said, the campaign shows that financial institutions are beginning to wear their thinking cap in regards to how they see commercial and execute them.
“What the bank has succeeded in doing is to simply deepen the bond between it and the people, especially the ordinary man on the streets. The commercial depicts the bank as not just a financial institution, only interested in making profit off its teeming customers, but one that is really sympathetic to their cause, too.
“It is positioning the bank as one that has taken the time to study its operating environments and quite ready to go the whole hog in fixing the obvious noticeable gaps in the system. And when a brand embarks on such journey, it is always rewarding because what you have is an enduring bond between it and the people,” Ekong said.
The 2minutes 34seconds video ends with cheering words: This bank understands what it means to push through challenges and yet believe.” That is basis for the commercial- to show a sense of empathy and a way out of the challenges that accompany everyday survival.
Although the Union Bank’s mantra for many decades had been “Big, Strong and Reliable”, this “simpler, smarter bank” proves to be one step ahead of others in being a societal vent for its customers with this new television commercial. As suggested by the title, “Enabling Success”, the bank seems poised to dabble into our sea of struggles and rescues anyone who dares to dream, not complacent in being just a doubting Thomas. Although, many viewers will ask in silence how UNION Bank is part of the sustainable solutions to the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, the answer lies in individual’s curiosity to find out what the bank offers as services.