Plain Packaged Banking

The push for plain packaging – and intellectual property expropriation – began as a consumer awareness campaign. So, for example, consumers might think that ‘Lights’ weren’t as unhealthy as ‘regular’ cigarettes. Maybe they were confused. Some of my colleagues who did research into chop-chop discovered that users thought it was healthier than purchased tobacco because chop-chop was organic.

The point being that branding confuses consumers – and the government, we are reliably informed, as a role to play in ensuring that consumers don’t get confused.

So where is this leading? Well last week an article in the AFR caught my eye.

Banks’ brands misleading public

In its submission to the Murray inquiry, COBA said the position of the major banks was “now so dominant that the majors frame competition in banking as something that occurs only between themselves and within their multiple brands”.

It cited independent research from D&M Research showing 50 per cent of customers were unaware of the major banks’ ownership of smaller “competitors” and 80 per cent were unaware that the banks own certain home lenders. “This consumer research strongly ­suggests major banks are getting away with portraying their sub-brands as independent competitors,” COBA said.

There is an on-going assault on branding and advertising that threatens all business. Having succeeded in stigmatising one industry and its consumers, the progressive left are now targeting other industries.

This entry was posted in Divestment, Economics and economy, Financial Services. Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to Plain Packaged Banking

  1. Rabz

    Regressives hate “commercialism”, which they consider to be crass and misleading. Branding is the embodiment of this.

  2. Rabz

    Having said that, I’m no great of advertising either, largely for aesthetic reasons. Test cricket is a classic example, where the infuriating and inexcusable encroachment of branding has reached utterly absurd levels.

  3. Gab

    It cited independent research from D&M Research showing 50 per cent of customers were unaware of the major banks’ ownership of smaller “competitors” and 80 per cent were unaware that the banks own certain home lenders. “This consumer research strongly ­suggests major banks are getting away with portraying their sub-brands as independent competitors,” COBA said.

    Ridiculous. If you want to bank with a non-major, or get a home loan, and you don’t do your homework and look into the institution, then it’s your issue, not the banks. The information is out there but people are just too lazy.

    COBA should, collectively, get a necktie and head to the ladies toilets etc etc.

  4. .

    They are right in so far as there is an implicit subsidy to bigger banks that are “too big to fail” (they’re not).

    Arguing against bigger banks advertising however is just whinging for the government to coerce their competition into being less competitive for market share.

    Amoral thuggery with no benefit to society.

  5. Rabz

    no great fan of advertising either

    Blah.

  6. brc

    This is why I said we need the smokers to keep them busy.

    I’m serious when I think that within ten years, it would be illegal for HSV to either produce a 300kw vehicle, or at least to label it with a 300kw badge.

    Who cares if the the banks and insurance companies have multiple brands. What does it matter as long as the customer has a choice of products?

  7. youngster

    I cant see how anyone would have a problem with advertising or branding, and I hate it when Governments think they need to “protect” the poor downtrodden consumer. However, I do have a problem with advertisers deliberately hiding information that is important to consumer trying to make an informed choice. For example, Bankwest is a division of CBA, but the only way you find this information is buried deep in light-coloured fine print. If I was taking out a mortgage, I would read the fine print. If I was merely opening a transaction account, I may not. Ubank, on the other hand, clearly advertises that they are backed up by NAB, so there could be no confusion.

  8. .

    Bankwest is a division of CBA, but the only way you find this information is buried deep in light-coloured fine print.

    Does it matter?

    I banked with the squirrel before CBA bought it off HBOS Plc.

    I love aviators but I still want a pair of woodgrain wayfarers…

  9. Gab

    Bankwest is a division of CBA, but the only way you find this information is buried deep in light-coloured fine print.

    Absolute bullshIt. It took me less than 10 seconds to find out.

    Google.

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=who+owns+bankwest&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=np&source=hp&gfe_rd=cr&ei=R9qoU6iuN83C8ge9v4DACA

  10. H B Bear

    Consumers have always been poorly informed about banking and financial services more generally. This is what allows the superannuation industry to charge two to three times world best practice fees for so-called investment management under Keating’s State mandated savings regime.

    Nice work if you are an investment manager living in Mosman pulling six or seven figures a year. Not so go for the rest of us.

  11. Token

    Is there any way to get the f****nuckles who want to tamper with advertising packaging to prevent mass murderers from appearing on T-shirts & <a href="ice cream?

  12. Ubique

    Anybody who doesn’t know the CBA owns BankWest must have been living at the bottom of a well. I still think of BankWest as the R&I – popularly known as the “rude and ignorant”.

  13. JC

    Sinc. … “Progressive left”? That’s a joke right?

  14. JC

    Ubique

    I can proudly say I had no idea who owns bank west and couldn’t give a rats.

  15. Hawkeye P.

    “There is an on-going assault on branding and advertising that threatens all business.”

    This is a trojan horse, as was the plain packaging of cigarettes.

    The bigger game is an assault on private property rights in toto.

    ‘Attacking big business’ is merely the pot this particular frog is slowly being boiled to death in.

  16. Roger

    So, COBA (Community Owned Banking Association i.e. Friendly Societies and Credit Unions) is now the attack prong of the progressive Left? That’s a stretch, surely? Can’t read the article as it’s behind a paywall, but I would imagine their protest is not against financial institution branding itself (after all, they engage in it too) but what they perceive as branding which misleads the consumer. Whether that be correct or not, they’ve every right to put their case to the inquiry.

  17. Baldrick

    Plain packaged insurance … now that I’d like to see.

  18. Leo G

    Sinc. … “Progressive left”? That’s a joke right?

    Oxymoron.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle

    Reminds me of an ideology. And a fun ad based on it.

    OTOH, Shorten would look good in a Mao suit.

  20. I still think of BankWest as the R&I – popularly known as the “rude and ignorant”.

    Truer words were never spoken.

  21. I can proudly say I had no idea who owns bank west and couldn’t give a rats.

    It’d only matter to borrowers, or those who trade in shares.

  22. stackja

    Computer operating systems next?

  23. Snoopy

    Translation: Friendly Societies and Credit Unions are getting a flogging in the marketplace from Big 4 owned mini-banks so they run crying to mummy.

  24. 1735099

    Branding is a simple concept – works best on cattle.
    The marketing gurus who apply it to everything else in pursuit of a dollar, at the expense of truth and reality, are the worst kind of rent seekers.

  25. youngster

    Geez Gab, aren’t you a smug genius with the benefit of hindsight!

    I’m not arguing for a regulatory response, but I do think it is dishonest for these subsidiary companies of major national companies to brand themselves as community organisations. To use my previous example, BankWest is not your friendly local banker interested in helping your small business however they can, they are part of a corporate juggernaut (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that). They are nothing like the local credit union, and they should not represent themselves in such a way. But then, dishonesty is a cornerstone of marketing, so we should not be surprised.

  26. Gab

    Geez Gab, aren’t you a smug genius

    Yes. Yes I am.

  27. Token

    Translation: Friendly Societies and Credit Unions are getting a flogging in the marketplace from Big 4 owned mini-banks so they run crying to mummy.

    Why don’t they put a sign in the window – “We are not owned by the Big 4, can your broker / bank say that?” ?

    No need for stupid regulation.

  28. Token

    Geez Gab, aren’t you a smug genius

    Yes. Yes I am.

    What were they saying about asking question in the Headlines of papers?

  29. Tom

    Welcome to the Old Stalinist Branding Agency for a glorious future free of bourgeois individualism.

  30. 1735099

    dishonesty is the cornerstone of marketing

    Ain’t that the truth – great liberty quote.

  31. JC

    Youngster

    Fuck off. They should free to brand subsidiaries how they fucking like, you twerp. As a matter of fact I’d take a bet that bankwest is a sub, in which case it would be possibly illegal to call themselves the CBA. They aren’t!

    You moron.

  32. .

    I’m not arguing for a regulatory response, but I do think it is dishonest for these subsidiary companies of major national companies to brand themselves as community organisations.

    Since when has BankWest ever implied it was a charity? They advertise rates of interest you must pay back on your borrowings for christ’s sake!

  33. Hydra

    Is there actually people in Australia that don’t realise St George, Bank SA, and Bank of Melbourne are subsidiaries of Westpac?

    Do these people actually exist?

  34. .

    Why don’t they put a sign in the window – “We are not owned by the Big 4, can your broker / bank say that?” ?

    No need for stupid regulation.

    We asked numbers and he said that all advertising is lying. Therefore we need to end advertising by the major banks. Or something.

  35. .

    dishonesty is a cornerstone of marketing

    No. You are wrong.

    You would not earn one week’s income as a marketing manager.

    Thank your stars you have another job.

  36. Infidel Tiger

    For example, Bankwest is a division of CBA, but the only way you find this information is buried deep in light-coloured fine print.

    Unless you are lunatic lefty, then surely you judge your mortgage by the rate and fees, not by the parent company?

    Why do lefties make life so fucking hard?

  37. 1735099

    Fuck off

    Note what happens, Youngster, when you depart from the groupthink displayed here.
    It’s as predictable as blowflies on roadkill….

  38. Infidel Tiger

    Youngster strikes me as the type of fool who drinks Fair Trade coffee.

  39. Tapdog

    May have missed it but I don’t see any reference to health in comments on this thread. I would argue that discussion about the pros and cons of tobacco branding is mere sophistry if it fails to address the problem that tobacco kills and maims and also costs billions of direct and indirect dollars.

    Is the argument here that purity of economic principle takes primacy over health?

  40. incoherent rambler

    Is the argument here that purity of economic principle takes primacy over health?

    No DH. There is an argument that what is good for you is a choice. Not what our wise leaders (like the one in your picture) dictate.

  41. Infidel Tiger

    I would argue that discussion about the pros and cons of tobacco branding is mere sophistry if it fails to address the problem that tobacco kills and maims and also costs billions of direct and indirect dollars.

    Tobacco consumers pay their way by many multiples. Without them the health system would collapse.

    Stop talking rubbish.

  42. brc

    Funny how academic lefties deplore marketing and branding yet most sport a ten page CV and love to write their name with letters after it. Or worse, sport questionable headgeàr in public.

  43. Tapdog

    There is an argument that what is good for you is a choice

    Good statement of principle. So….remove government entirely from the regulation of all dangerous subtances? Drugs, alcohol, pesticides, explosives? Leave it ALL to choice?

  44. Max

    Is the argument here that purity of economic principle takes primacy over health?

    No – its Freedom over Health

    The Government can appropriating your intellectual property is theft

  45. Max

    Good statement of principle. So….remove government entirely from the regulation of all dangerous subtances? Drugs, alcohol, pesticides, explosives? Leave it ALL to choice?

    Every day at food courts around the country

  46. Max

    Good statement of principle. So….remove government entirely from the regulation of all dangerous subtances? Drugs, alcohol, pesticides, explosives? Leave it ALL to choice?

    Every day at food courts around the country we are at risk of being poisoned…. But it never happens BECAUSE consumers have choice !!

  47. incoherent rambler

    pesticides, explosives aside , yes.
    Do you get it yet?

  48. Tapdog

    You still left out health IT

  49. Infidel Tiger

    You still left out health IT

    What health am I leaving out?

  50. Tapdog

    Why leave out pesticides and explosives if Rambler, it’s simply a matter of choice as you argue?

  51. Infidel Tiger

    Good statement of principle. So….remove government entirely from the regulation of all dangerous subtances? Drugs, alcohol, pesticides, explosives? Leave it ALL to choice?

    “Free to choose” is the only way to live.

    Anything else is an unbearable tyranny.

  52. Tapdog

    What health am I leaving out?

    You are leaving out the fact that tobacco consumption is a major public health issue and is thus an area in which Governement has a legitimate regulatory role to play. You disagree?

  53. Tel

    I’ve got a mortgage with AMP and I note that the rate they advertise on their website (for a variable rate loan) is significantly lower than any of the major banks, what’s more it is also significantly lower than what they are charging me.

    There’s fine print on the website “for new business only” which makes you think this is an intentional come on. They get people in on a low then tweak it up… is that legit? I’m feeling like I should look around a bit.

  54. Infidel Tiger

    You disagree?

    More strongly than you could possibly imagine.

    If I want to stuff my bowels with nitro-glycerin and jump up and down on a trampoline, it’s no one’s concern but mine and the trampoline owner’s.

  55. Max

    You are leaving out the fact that tobacco consumption is a major public health issue and is thus an area in which Governement has a legitimate regulatory role to play. You disagree?

    Yes –

    this is what you are doing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_3CsKoXwfA

  56. .

    You are leaving out the fact that tobacco consumption is a major public health issue and is thus an area in which Governement has a legitimate regulatory role to play.

    Nonsense.

    It is a crusade built and lies and designed as propaganda, not argument, from the outset.

  57. Rabz

    They get people in on a low then tweak it up… is that legit?

    Totally and has been for yonks. Honeymoon rates, they’re known as.

  58. Pedro

    “There is an on-going assault on branding and advertising that threatens all business.”

    Actually, it is the general assault on adulthood and its responsibilities. Apparently we can’t be trusted to enquire and be discerning. Once you take that view there is no end to the help we need from the govt.

    Lets assume the average punter is being misled about the level of competition in banking. So what? Only the littlest thought it required to understand that competition is not being effected because a bank had multiple brands (and this is different from whether the acquisition of small banks affects competition). How is multiple branding leading to any damage? What opportunities are being missed because little old you and me don’t realise that Westpac owns St George or whatever? Woolies will sell you brand X tomato sauce, Select tomato sauce and homebrand tomato sauce. Do I have a bargaining advantage because I know two of them are owned by woolies?

  59. Pedro

    “You are leaving out the fact that tobacco consumption is a major public health issue and is thus an area in which Governement has a legitimate regulatory role to play.”

    I think that is true. First, it makes sense to have a reasonably affordable check on misleading and deceptive conduct. You can’t really leave that to the free market because lawyers are very expensive.

    Second, if you are going to have taxpayer involvement in health costs then products like tobacco should be taxed.

    Third, if smoking is very harmful, and it is, then restrictions on promoting smoking as a cool thing to do are justifiable. The problem here is where to draw the line on harmfulness and it could be that we should tolerate a few extra smokers being sucked into the web rather than have nanny get more and more excited about looking after us.

  60. JC

    Is there actually people in Australia that don’t realise St George, Bank SA, and Bank of Melbourne are subsidiaries of Westpac?

    Do these people actually exist?

    Ummmm yea, I had no idea SA and BofM were owned by Wetpatch. I knew about st George. I made really decent money, like really decent …..shorting the shit outta the regionals during the height of the GFC, but I didn’t overstay my welcome because of the fear the big guys would buy them out.

    I’m sure I read who owned the fuckers but I never paid any attention.

    Those were the days, the halcyon days of shorting the regionals in the morning and buying them in the afternoon for a nice gain…. A gain I needed to cover the losses in the shit I owned.

    I reckon that sth African bimbo at Wetpatch bought st George to save face, because she left the place totally exposed to source funding in the commercial paper market which dried up.

  61. JC

    Woolies will sell you brand X tomato sauce, Select tomato sauce and homebrand tomato sauce. Do I have a bargaining advantage because I know two of them are owned by woolies?

    Do you see why I am absolutely ruthless with left wingers. I wish I had a row of vices to stick their heads in them whenever they made a comment…. And leave them there for a few days.

    These morons vote! They’re fucking citizens!

  62. Gab

    Do you see why I am absolutely ruthless with left wingers.

    Yes. They have no argument nor rational thoughts. It’s all emote emote emote. Like five year-old tantrum throwers.

  63. If I want to stuff my bowels with nitro-glycerin and jump up and down on a trampoline, it’s no one’s concern but mine and the trampoline owner’s.

    Be rather a blast I.T.
    Some people just eat lotsa baked beans.

  64. 1735099

    purity of economic principle over health

    Yes.
    Or put another way, In the name of the almighty dollar, every knee shall bend
    It’s the all-pervasive cult……

  65. entropy

    The reason this is furphy is that owning sub brands allows product differentiation. It means St George bank can offer product different to westpac. Etc Etc.
    The little guys (and by little I mean capitalisation in the low billions) don’t like this as they would prefer to have an established niche all to themselves rather than have to compete by finding other unique ways to identify themselves.

    Of more concern is the fact a journalist in a supposed business publication doesn’t understand his basic reality of business, and latched onto the COBA hook without a second thought. Useless idiot.

  66. Helen

    Look, if people want to smoke and kill themselves after paying a gazillion in smoke taxes, such that the cost of their shortened lives is actually a big profit take by godzilla government then they should be able to choose their favourite brand with which to do so.

    It is the least we can do.

  67. Helen

    Same with banks. Government should stop interfering. I can just imagine what they are going to do with medicinal marijuana when it is legalised. All in Olive Green bags with a moist Tubbsy Milne on the front cover. Or would that be branding? Where does it end?

  68. 1234

    Doesn’t matter where Sinclair looks he finds a lefty. Check under your bed they could be hiding there too.

  69. Toiling Mass

    The member for Fairfax and Fairfax Media is confusing too.

  70. Tel

    Totally and has been for yonks. Honeymoon rates, they’re known as.

    Actually, they didn’t list as honeymoon rates, nor were they sold to me on that basis. They just said standard variable rates. If they had said the published rates were unrealistic, I would have asked for some real information to go on.

  71. Tel

    If you do a search on “AMP basic mortgage package” then look at the rates, the only variable rates you see advertised are for new business only, you have absolutely no way you can find out what the real variable rates are other than asking an existing customer… the information is simply not available to the public.

  72. .

    1735099
    #1358571, posted on June 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm
    purity of economic principle over health

    Yes.
    Or put another way, In the name of the almighty dollar, every knee shall bend
    It’s the all-pervasive cult……

    Give it a rest you fuckwit. Even a low paid worker in America can afford very good private healthcare.

    No communist state provides good healthcare for their citizens.

    http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

  73. AP

    I have never understood the percieved “lack of competition” in banking. I used to have a number of accounts with CBA. I figured eventually I was contributing several thousand per annum to the CBA profit via lost interest on low interest accounts, monthly fees etc. So I went down the road to a credit union. No fees. Reasonable interest. Also, no bells and whistles (e.g. asking them to convert about $6,000 from my SMSF account into GBP to send to a company in HK was like the most unusual request they’d ever had)

    There are literally hundreds of “bank-like” institutions (including non-banks) in this country.

    IMB
    CUA
    Illawarra Credit Union
    Teachers Credit Union
    BDCU
    The Greater
    Newcastle Permanent
    People’s Choice
    Community First
    BCCU
    QANTASCU
    SCU
    Quay CU
    SGECU
    etc, etc…

  74. AP

    One thing that does give me the shits though is when Labor MPs make all their campaign materials blue. Or when communists pose as greens.

  75. AP

    When a Brown who is actually a Red poses as a Green under a new name, you have a sickening mix.

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