I was having a very mundane Saturday morning. It was calm and lazy because of the early morning showers when all of a sudden, notifications from social media started going off. I opened the first one and immediately ran off to get some popcorn because I knew from the first look that this was going to be good. 

Sterling Bank Plc had shaken the proverbial table in what has now been dubbed; The bank wars ( it even has its own hashtags) #bankwar #Thebankwars #bankswar.

This image was posted on the Sterling bank Plc social media accounts

‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’

And invariably shooting down competition in the same breath. The poster features jabs at four different financial institutions.  The first, I deduce to be Access Bank from the well known arrows. In this case however, the figure shooting the arrows was completely off target. Following is a depiction of a very famous orange square which can only be GTB but to Sterling Bank it presents as a constricting prison. Then comes the mighty elephant of First bank and the stallion of Union bank. Both are presented to be just out of reach of the figure heading to the Sterling Bank moon on a rocket. Over the weekend, responses from Union, Access and First Banks came flooding in, further fueling the Sterling Flame.

Access Bank dropped the microphone with this fiery comeback

Union Bank serves shade with a dash of rationality

First bank addressed the ad curtly and succinctly by throwing it straight into the trash can.

Sterling Bank successfully threw a curve ball which no one expected and gained 4,000 new followers and over 3,000 likes in the process. I am certain that the next few days will largely increase the company’s Top-of-mind awareness. The poster pushed engagement so much that while it did in fact shade these other banks, it also brought the spotlight to them which they promptly utilised to their own advantage.  When all the laughs have died down, this ad will become a call to action and a reason to redress the issues of public perception facing Access, Guarantee Trust, First and Union banks. I am enthused that this ad managed to begin the discussion of what can be seen as the problems of service to all of these organisations, Sterling Bank included.

Take for instance, Sterling Bank’s lack of available branches

Or First Bank’s reportedly crowded and poorly maintained halls

To GTBank’s overwhelming bank charges

At the same time the ethics behind the post needs to be explored. Understandably, such bombs are commonplace in the international market; especially in the USA(Coca-Cola and Pepsi are a prime example). It remains to be seen however, if this is “the Nigerian way”. 

These types of interactions, however you feel about them, are important to humanizing brands. More importantly, it triggers interaction and opens up your audience.


Be Human