Steves use social media to stop FNB advert that ‘attacks’ name

2014-12-04 00:00

STEVES from all around South Africa are campaigning for FNB to “Un-Steve” themselves, taking to social networks in a bid to stop the advert.

Steve Young from Cape Town started a Facebook page called “Steve Versus FNB’s Unsteve Yourself Ad Campaign”.

The page is growing in popularity as its content shows pictures of famous and historical figures who have the first name Steve.

“This is an attack on the name, Steve, a cynical, mischievous attempt to undermine its value for corporate gain. I empathise in particular with children who are called Steve who may be bullied or ostracised by their peers. I also empathise with people whose professional reputations are damaged by the ads,” Young said.

In 2011, First National Bank (FNB) introduced consumers to “Steve”. In October this year, FNB launched the “Un-Steve Yourself” campaign, which was an evolution of the previous Steve campaign.

Fin24’s Matthew le Cordeur discussed the campaign with FNB’s chief marketing officer Bernice Samuels.

“Steve became known as something of an anti-hero; and whether people loved to love him or loved to hate him, consumers all over South Africa definitely got to know and remember him,” said Samuels.

According to Samuels, this campaign is aimed at looking at the less flamboyant aspects of banking that could give customers incremental value.

“While the ‘un-Steve’ campaign takes a lighthearted and often humorous approach, the message it delivers is hard-hitting and designed to make South African banking customers take a serious look at whether they are truly getting the banking experience they deserve,” Samuels said.

Young said that his page currently gets around 10 new people each day as the word spreads. Most of them are called Steve, Steven or Stephen, but “there are a good number of people who are sympathisers with the cause despite not having the name”.

Young has taken up his complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and he is currently awaiting their decision.

“One thing is clear: the battle against FNB will not be over when the ASA make their decision, by any means,” Young said.

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