Emily Tan
Jun 21, 2011

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne wins Cannes PR Grand Prix with Break Up campaign

CANNES - Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has clinched Australia's first Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions in the PR category with its 'Break up' campaign for the National Australia Bank.

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne's Grand Prix award winning PR campaign
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne's Grand Prix award winning PR campaign

The campaign also won a Silver PR Lion for the same campaign for 'Best use of Media Relations'.


Australians have always believed their 4 biggest banks, Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank (NAB) work together fixing fees and eliminating competition. The reality however is the opposite. NAB had in fact spent two years making dramatic changes, abolishing fees and lowering interest rates, all to be considered fairer and more competitive by customers. But due to this perception of being 'together', people had almost refused to notice. Instead of fighting this perception of the banks being 'together', we instead decided to embrace it by letting the public witness NAB break up with the other banks.

Consumer research had told us again and again how much people disliked and distrusted the four big banks. More specifically why - they were annoyed how the big banks pretended to be competing when they were in fact in bed together trying to make a profit. Regardless of the truth, the perception of big bank collusion was clearly deeply imbedded in their minds. So much so, we knew our goal had to be: Overcome this perception barrier, so the public would finally acknowledge the two years of change NAB had undergone to become more fair and competitive

Every moment of the break up was orchestrated to be both shareable through social media, as well as a potential news grab for the media. It began with the bank posting a simple tweet about 'hurting feelings' that everyone immediately assumed was a mistake and therefore spread, starting huge online chatter about NAB. Next a very personal break up letter to the other banks appeared in every major Australian newspaper, while simultaneously online, people discovered 60 films of NAB bankers breaking up with the other banks nationwide. Both immediately generated enormous news coverage. Soon the media was struggling to keep up, as NAB then ambushed the other banks with break up messages on the streets and in the sky. As the media story exploded as planned using all our created content, it made people visit an online 'break up blog' that let them finally discover all of NAB’s changes.

In a single day the public’s perception of the bank was absolutely transformed. By actively harnessing the Australian media across multiple channels simultaneously, NAB’s changes were given an immediate credibility traditional advertising simply could not deliver. People now see the bank as not only different, more fair and competitive – but also much more relatable and human. The break up itself generated US$5 million of earned PR media in a single day. It was the most discussed topic on Twitter in the country. Positive online posts about NAB have increased 320 per cent. While the original objective was a 15 per cent lift in loan and credit card enquiries, since the break up there has in fact been a 79 per cent increase week on week in NAB home loan enquiries. A 50 per cent increase week on week in NAB credit card applications and finally - a 20 per cent increase week on week new transaction accounts being opened.


Clemenger BBDO Melbourne   
Chairman James McGrath
Executive Creative Director Ant Keogh
Creatives Juliain Schreiber , Tom Martin, Rohan Lancaster, Darren Pitt    
Executive Agency Producer Sonia Von Bibra  
Print Agency Producer Sharon Adams   
Account Management Team Simon Lamplough, Tim McColl Jones, Kelly Richardson, Kate McCarthy, Tanya Garma 
Planning & insights Director Paul Rees Jones
Digital Production Eaon Pritchard, Sasha Cunningham

Other companies
Director The Glue Society
DOP/Cinematographer Danny Ruhlmann plus 63 x field DP's        
Executive Producer Michael Ritchie - Revolver    
Head of Projects Josh Mullens, Ian Iveson - Will O'Rourke    
Production Company Will O'Rourke        



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