Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't Be a Steve

Mr. Deep's first name is Steve. Mr. Steve Deep. Normally I wouldn't just out him like that but it's central to the story that you know this. And let's be honest, many of you knew it anyway.

When we first visited Johannesburg in October we spent time driving around with our assigned relocation expert, Ruth.  As we were driving around we began to notice various billboards. Here's an example.
Jozi is a nickname for Johannesburg

So finally, Mr. Deep asked Ruth, "what are all of these billboards about Steve?"

Well it turns out that First National Bank called FNB for short which is a big bank here had an ad campaign all about this dolt named Steve. The whole campaign was based on Steve having a lot of misconceptions about banking and not being capable of wisely choosing a bank given his incredible idiocy. The goal of the ad campaign was to position FNB as the bank that has the solutions and encourage people to switch and bank with FNB. 

According to FNB, there were five types of Steve:
The apathetic Steve - ''Today's the day I switch my bank", but he never does;
The ignorant Steve - ''I just didn't know" about the new app or feature, or how to pay less for banking;
The naive Steve, who believes his bank is the best ''because they said so".
The fearful Steve, who thinks switching banks or transacting online will make him the target of ''hackers and pedophiles";
The cynical Steve who has been ''burnt by other banks and decided that all banks are the same".

The ad campaign played off FNB’s previous campaign featuring telemarketing agent “Steve Norris” who consistently failed to retain or win over customers to a competing bank.

I found the whole thing funny but will admit I don't know how I would feel if the shoe was on the other foot. If a whole ad campaign used your name as a joke and you were going to be living in a new country and constantly introducing yourself to people how would you feel? My name is Liza and I know there's a hole in the bucket.

Mr. Deep decided that he would start introducing himself as Stephen, answering the phone as Stephen and he changed his work email signature to Stephen. Those of you who know him in the U.S. don't be surprised if the next time you see him he doesn't answer to Steve right away. He also decided that the Deep Family would not be banking with FNB.
Luckily Mr. Deep didn't need to worry too much because in the time that we were back in the U.S. before moving here, a whole gang of Steve's got together and through their lobbying efforts got the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa to order FNB to end the campaign. And not just end it. Almost all proof it ever existed is gone. Even in writing this post, it's hard to find pictures to show you. Luckily I was able to find some. 

The Steve's used the age old argument that you need to use if you want something changed....they said that the campaign was harmful to children named Steve and it was causing bullying on the playground. 

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About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.