FNB ad: ANC may pull key account
23 Jan 2013
Maryna Lamprecht and Sapa
THE membership fees of more than 1,2 million ANC members are banked with FNB.
It is just one of several accounts the ANC has with the bank, party spokesperson Keith Khoza said yesterday, as FNB bowed to pressure and withdrew some of its videos flighted in a controversial marketing campaign from YouTube.
Khoza has called the “You Can Help” campaign “an attack on the president, his ministers and government”, while the ANC Youth League called it “treacherous”.
FNB head of marketing Bernice Samuels said: “I believe there was a misinterpretation of our intent. Our focus was to galvanise the nation into helping. Our intent of the campaign was to get the nation to be inspired to work together.”
The campaign features a number of videos of students and children in school uniform reading their observations and hopes for the country.
In one of the videos, a youth from KwaZulu-Natal says: “The country is being overrun by poverty … while [President] Jacob Zuma is renovating his home.”
“Politicians tend to be the most destructive … aspect of our country … We need motives and a clear vision … We must not depend on our leaders …” says a high school pupil from KwaZulu-Natal.
A Western Cape student says: “I was born in an epic era … We need to stop relying on government and rely on ourselves.”
Samuels said the bank was “astounded and disturbed” by the criticism, and that it had pulled some of the videos. “The children were caught in the crossfire and we felt it was in their best interest.”
A television advert that features a schoolgirl is still being flighted.
Khoza said the ANC and FNB plan to meet on the issue.
In 2007, FNB was forced to withdraw a campaign that called on former president Thabo Mbeki to make crime a priority.
Chris Moerdyk, an advertising analyst, said it was surprising that FNB had landed in the same trap a second time. “Rule number one of marketing is to stay away from religion and politics. On the one hand, I’m sure a lot of people are praising FNB, but one must remember that 60% of South Africans vote for the ANC. If the ANC is unhappy, then the bank has upset 60% of South Africans.
The Freedom of Expression Institute executive director Phenyo Butale said: “The ruling alliance is free to disagree with and criticise FNB, but it has done so in a way that is threatening and likely to have a chilling effect on debate and discussion.”
The Christian Democratic Party and Freedom Front Plus questioned why the ANC accused young people of treason, but was silent about the looting and protesting in Zamdela in Sasolburg.
“Instigators in these activities are openly threatening to make the country ungovernable, yet not once have they been publicly accused of treason,” CDP leader Theunis Botha said in a statement.