Cape Town - First National Bank (FNB) on Tuesday refuted reports that it was pulling its advertisements which form part of its 2013 You can Help corporate ad campaign.
The campaign follows an independent survey commissioned by FNB, which showed that 70% of the youth were positive about the future of the country.
“We undertook this exercise as we strongly believe that the children of South Africa have an important voice and are critical to the country’s future success. Every interview was unscripted and uncensored – they are very much ‘from the heart’ of each child speaking,” said FNB spokesperson Bernice Samuels.
Samuels, who is also the bank’s chief marketing officer, maintains the survey responses were unscripted, captured live and uncensored on camera.
Responding to a question by Fin24 on reports that FNB had decided to pull the ads, Samuels said: “No, we are not canning the TV ad.
"The TV ad (Kelly Baloyi at Naledi High School) has not been pulled from TV. However, the unscripted clips that were posted on the blog site have been removed.
“We thought it would be advisable to remove the clips for the time being in the best interest of the children, until the misunderstanding is resolved.”
FNB confirmed that the campaign featuring the TV advertisement - as well as the outdoor messaging and the You can Help blog - will continue.
Meanwhile, Fin24 users rallied behind FNB calling the ad “brilliant”, “a true reflection of our society” and “the truth must be heard”.
Erica Pienaar, a pensioner from Rustenburg, said she is a senior citizen who has seen “better days, [more] than what the people of today have to suffer through. My heart bleeds for the children with no future.”
In a letter to Fin24, she wrote: “Your ad was brilliant and brought tears to many eyes. My opinion is place the ad until the message sinks in.
“... these words come out of the mouth of a child. The young people speak from the heart because they suffer and know there can be a better future for all of us if we help each other and stand together as a nation.
“Everybody I know says just brilliant, keep it up, the truest ad in a long time.”
FNB’s advertisement has sparked a war of words from the ANC Youth League, with league calling the campaign a “treacherous act” against the government or the country..
The league also called the advertisement "treasonous" and labelled it a "lame attempt to recreate an Arab Spring of some sort in South Africa".
Another Fin24 user, Linda Engelbrecht, said the ad is definitely a step in the right direction. “It’s the ANCYL that has ‘shown its true colours’ and blown its cover by reacting as it… can’t stand anything that threatens its own agenda of greed and corruption.
"It could be doing so much good for the country, but it will not.”
On Tuesday, Business Report published quotes from some of the unscripted clips posted on the blog site that has since been retracted.
"The country is being overrun by poverty... while [President] Jacob Zuma is renovating his home," said a youth from KwaZulu-Natal.
A university student from Gauteng said: "The government is only thinking for themselves.... I'm from a rural area and the government doesn't see what's happening."
"... Politicians tend to be the most destructive and eruptive [sic] aspect of our country.... We need motives and a clear vision.... We must not depend on our leaders. Each person must become their own hero," said a high school pupil from KwaZulu-Natal.
A Western Cape student said: "I was born in an epic era.... We need to stop relying on government and rely on ourselves."
"They are sharp critics, they love their country, but they are critical. We are talking about working together and we wanted to provide a platform for children to be heard," Samuels told Sapa.
She said FNB would welcome the opportunity to meet with the ANC and discuss the matter.
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