Cape Town – The debacle over First National Bank's (FNB’s) You can Help advertising campaign is nothing new. The bank has taken a hiding twice before in the past few years over “controversial” ads.
Fin24 users have been highly vocal on FNB’s latest advertisement, which drew sharp criticism from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the ANC itself.
Paul Chinchen recalls the launch of FNB’s new logo during the “late eighties, early nineties” and the criticism it drew from right-wingers.
The logo of First National Bank in South Africa (one-time franchise of Barclays), they claimed, contained an AK-47 assault rifle hidden in the branches of its Acacia thorn tree logo, thus showing its affiliation with the ANC.
Writes Paul: “Remember the last time an FNB advert caused such a stir... I think it was sometime around 1992.
“The right (wing)ed complained that the new FNB logo showed an Africa, a running rabbit and an AK-47... they were afraid that this image portrayed whites running away from Africa like rabbits as a result of black men using the 'threat' of AK-47s (or possibly machine guns).
“My, how times have changed...”
Another Fin24 user, Ray Muller, recalls the incident in 2007 when FNB buckled under pressure from former president Thabo Mbeki and pulled its anti-crime campaign.
He writes: “(It’s ) about time business takes a stand in showing this ANC government up for the corrupt, incompetent, racist, fraudulent crooks they are.
“Every day reveals new details of their malevolence, every day a new shock. Well done FNB.
“Such a pity you pulled the campaign on crime in 2007 because of pressure from (former president Thabo) Mbeki. I hope you stick with this one now and not back off.”
Many dubbed the ad “brilliant”, “most wonderful”, “uplifting”, “thought-provoking” and “a true reflection of how most of the people in South Africa feel”, while others took a swipe at the government for “politicising” the issue.
“Unfortunately the government doesn't like it because their little empire is touched,” writes Annemarie Steyn.
“The government don't (sic) want educated children because their biggest fear is that more kids will get the view and knowledge of a better South Africa for us all.
“The kids who participated in the campaign see a future for our country without any discrimination and colour. How wonderful. God is at work in our hearts and most importantly in the hearts of our youth,” she wrote.
The Dawson family said “our country needs people who are prepared to work together to improve it”.
“I have three adult children, all self-employed, who have chosen to stay here and make this country work. They don't have to; we have family in both the UK and Canada, who would be only too happy to sponsor them. They are all skilled.
“The fact that this ad has been politicised is shameful.”
Leigh-Ann Botha says we need to let the children speak. “If FNB did not give her (Kelly Baloyi) this platform,would we have heard?”
Steve Nienaber echoes Rob Lindegger’s request for the “ad to run until it sinks in”, saying “truth leads to positive action and the youth needs to drive this process”.
“After all, their future depends on the actions of today. Denial and defence of a broken system will only lead to further divisions and chaos.”
“If only the leaders of our country can take her words to heart, South Africa would be a GREAT country with a very bright future for everyone, regardless of colour,” adds Linda van Bruggen.
MT Kiri urges FNB to stand its ground, saying that she worries about her children’s future. “I am a final year law student and mother of two girls. I worry about their academic future, which the ANCYL cares little about!
“I am sick and tired of living under a dictatorship cloaked as democracy! We all need to wake up, especially the black community, we can't even express our feelings about this ANC government without somebody labelling us ‘sell-outs’, it's pathetic!”
Sunette lamented the state of the white youth 19 years into democracy. “...The ad is good...sadly the white youth is not part as there are no work opportunities for them.
“It is now 2013 a long way from 1994, but the youth must still face black economic empowerment. They were not part of our history, so why must they be under a government ruling for work: 79% black, 9% white, 9% coloured and 2% Indian. What fairness is that and from what section of South Africans is she talking about?
“It’s time that we stand together as a country. White, black, brown etc we all deserve better! Leave things of the past and build a new and better future,” Mariska Steyn wrote, commending Kelly Baloyi for speaking out.
“Kelly's (a) brilliant young lady and I do not know her, but is incredibly proud of her. Well done Kelly!”
Mbenge Khwezi has thrown his full weight behind the campaign. He asks why the ANC is the only party crying foul.
“My best guess is that they would rather have us in the state of daze, sedation and oblivion for as long as they are in power than us realising that our country belongs to US and WE can START making a difference.”
Tania Petersen was one of a handful of users who commented negatively on the ad.
She wrote: "Think it's disgusting using children for political means, FNB is a bank and so should stick to that; if they (are) worried about the youth then get involved with organizations... it definitely came across as (an) attack on the government."
Thank you all for taking the time to air your views. We value each and every email but are simply unable to publish all the letters we are still being inundated with.
Click here to read more user comments on the FNB ad.
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