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#BankWars: How Sterling Bank emerged the biggest gainer by taking a dig at other banks

On a typical friday evening, while people were probably retiring home or are already settled for the night, the creative team at Sterling Bank thought to drop a bomb that was aimed at triggering a storm in the Nigerian cybersapce and they did. Sterling Bank posted an insanely creative AD on their social media channels subtly making a mockery of fellow banks such as First Bank, Union Bank, GTBank, Access Bank and UBA. While Instagram was yet to catch up with the virality of the very creative AD, Twitter, the mother of social media virality was already in flames; Facebook probably get to know about this in 2019. Banks like First Bank, Union Bank, Access Bank replied Sterling Bank and there was a little back and forth that kept social media users entertained for the weekend but GTBank noticeably stayed away from the drama, not a word from them.
One must have presumed they’re shooting an anti-Sterling documentary due to how detailed and extra they could be, you know?
While Digital Campaigns may not be as expensive as Traditional ones, they certainly do not come cheap either, especially for big financial houses as Sterling Bank. Here’s how Sterling Bank still gained from the stunt they pulled irrespective of the turnout.
1. In terms of brand recognition and awareness, Sterling Bank has been able to achieve impressions, engagements, and TOMA which ordinarily would have cost them tens of millions of Naira to achieve. Trending on Twitter for 3 consecutive days does not come cheap and I can hardly recall any brand who has successfully done this within the past year. Also prior to this move by Sterling, I could mention names of 10 Nigerian Banks without ‘Sterling Bank’ ever occurring to me, but as it stands, they are at the moment more or less the No1 Bank Brand on everyone’s lips, not necessarily for the right reasons, but certainly not for the wrong reasons either.
2. Although one can roll out a humongous budget and get social media saturated with their Ad, nothing beats the beauty and appeal of organic content which eventually attains a viral status. So far, Sterling Bank has been able to achieve virality not by forcing a boring Advert material down our throats, but through sheer creativity and genius. This organic virality counts for more.
3. Have you realized that Sterling Bank went for clear Market leaders who have been predominantly Pro-Digital within the past year or more? These Banks are also popular among the Youths and indeed dominate the Millennial Banking Market, you may not have considered it from this perspective, but even Sterling’s choice of Banks to banter was genius. They did not bother with Banks who were below them; that would amount to free publicity, instead, they went for those whose popularity would rub off on the Sterling Bank Brand. Every time a First Bank, Union Bank or Access Bank replies Sterling Bank, they create Awareness about Sterling Bank amongst their own Customers and Social Media Fan Base, even for a GTBank that has so far refused to respond, it’s silence has been a source of speculation with the Sterling brand at the center.
4. While I honestly do not think a lot of people have opened new Accounts with Sterling Bank following this event, I, however, will be unrealistic not to know that a couple of people would have done so or hope to. Considering the fact that asides from the fee paid to the Agency or Creative who handled that design, no other expenses has been made, I will consider every single Account opened as a result of this drama a big deal and a win for the guys at Sterling Bank.
However, Sterling Bank has since taken down the post and have publicly apologized across it’s social media platforms. Words have it that GTBank reported the issue to Central Bank of Nigeria following their silence throughout the Bank buzz during the weekend.
According to Nairametrics, in a letter issued by CBN to Sterling Bank asking them to “pull down the post from its Twitter handle, write and unreserved apology, through the same medium, to all banks whose logos and buildings you used in the advert and explain within twenty-four hours why regulatory sanctions should not be imposed on your bank”. 
Read Sterling Bank’s apology below:
Our apologies go out to all the banks -the likeness of whose logos & buildings featured in a post which we have since deleted. We remain committed to building an organisation that enables our youth find expression & we will continue to do this in the most responsible fashion.
CBN regarded it as an attempt by Sterling Bank to exploit the power of social media to demarket other banks and it goes violates section 44 of the Banking and Other Financial Institution Act (BOFIA) which reads:

On August 15th 2017, Sterling Bank appointed Abubakar Suleiman,56 as Managing Director/Chief Executive with effect on April 1st 2018. Since he became CEO, the bank has undergone thorough reformation which also involves building an organization that is youth-friendly as he’s one of the youngest Bank MDs in the country. Hence, the social media stunt over the weekend is a no-brainer as they’re in a bid to get the youths involved and there’s no better way to do so if not Twitter especially.

Meanwhile, check out this ADs of rival brands as they went all out in shading each other.

Between Coke & Pepsi Samsung & Apple

Every industry obviously have it’s set rules and regulations.

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