Crass, cringe, uncool and creepy. Those were the overriding thoughts I had when I saw THAT advert for Revolut on the London Underground last week.
Now it emerges the ads are (most likely) bogus. Just how much can we *trust* fintechs to be honest, open and acting in our best interests?
Like many, I’m confronted daily by advertising on London’s public transport. Whereas one can close a newspaper, magazine or web browser, most commuters traveling in packed Tube carriages have to at least glance at the marketing campaigns that surround them.
The majority of ads are perfectly harmless and legitimate. Many are smart and on-message, and fintech brands have become particularly adept at understanding their potential audience, communicating a set of positive and empowering values and really conveying what sets them apart.
Revolut? Not so much.
How much does this ad infuriate me? Let me count the ways. Firstly, patronising language & awful single-shaming more redolent of early 2000s Bridget Jones, not a modern and empowered fintech brand (1) pic.twitter.com/rnIg3YXRfq— Iona Bain (@ionayoungmoney) February 4, 2019
This ad to promote – well, we still don’t know what – went viral as a result of my Twitter take-down on Monday. The story was picked by BBC News, 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, The Independent, regional press and the Guardian, who even coined a rather apt Valentines Day ode to the saga.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, oi Revolut, what I’m up to on Valentine’s Night has got nothing to do with you!”
Don’t get me wrong: like many of the smart Alec Twitter critics who descended on my feed, I too care about famine, poverty and human rights abuses more than a tone deaf ad for a fintech brand.
But I am the Young Money Blogger, I have been writing about this stuff for eight years and if anyone’s going to call out a rubbish fintech ad, it’s gotta be me!
Single-shaming…but are they data-spying?
I stand by my Tweets and judging by the thousands of people who have contacted me to say they agree, I think I hit a raw nerve.
I won’t reiterate my points too much here. What I do want to highlight is the complete inadequacy of Revolut’s response.
“The purpose of this ad was not to take the mickey out of anyone, but to show solidarity with our fellow singles – with a dash of humour. However, with the current copy, I can appreciate that a small number of people have interpreted it differently, but that was not our intention,” they said.“Fortunately, going by the original BBC article with over 400 comments, the overwhelming majority of people are clearly not offended by the ad, and that’s encouraging. Nonetheless, we’ll take a deep look at this and learn from this as we go forward.”
Nah. As a young woman in media, who is being smeared by trolls for taking a professional view, it takes a lot to offend me. I just thought it was creepy, weird, dishonest &…well…rubbish. Thousands of people who have contacted me agree. Have a lovely Valentine’s evening! 😘 https://t.co/GVe452lUfu— Iona Bain (@ionayoungmoney) February 5, 2019