NAB ‘break-up’ a PR lesson for start-ups

Start-ups have been urged to take heed of the success of advertising agency Clemenger BBDO, which won the Grand Prix PR award at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival for its work for client NAB.


Clemenger is responsible for NAB’s “Break-up” campaign, which reportedly generated $5 million worth of free media exposure in a single day.


The campaign featured giant break-up letters plastered on the side of buildings, and break-up banners flown by helicopters through capital cities.



NAB also staged break-up stunts as part of the campaign, ambushing a rival bank’s executive lunch with singing waiters who presented a break-up cake.


The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is described as a global meeting place for creative professionals in the communications industry, attracting interest from around the world, namely for its awards.


Clemenger beat 38 international entrants to claim the title for the most highly acclaimed advertising PR work in the world.


Cannes Lions jury members declared the NAB campaign “superb”.  “It was a brilliant example of positioning a company, a bank, and at the same time depositioning your competition,” jury president Dave Senay said.


“It’s sort of like a conceptual jujitsu, where you take the power of the opposition and use it against them… There was not just an awareness increase and a change in attitudes, but true behaviour change.”


Senay said PR agencies had much to learn from companies such as Clemenger, claiming they needed to rid themselves of “isolationism” towards their communication disciplines.


“What was so wonderful about this entry was its full use of all channels of communications in a timely and clever way,” Senay said.


NAB’s award entry described how a tweet from a NAB employee was picked up by competitors and the media, when it was in fact the lead-in for its campaign.


NAB says the plan was to embrace the idea that the big four were in bed together to crush competition, and turn it to the company’s advantage.

In its mix of traditional and online media, NAB established a “break-up” blog where people could set up new accounts on the spot.


Craig Seitam, director of Promotion Space, says while social media can be an ideal way to launch an advertising campaign, it should not take precedence over other channels.


“Social media is very important. Companies need to adopt it and grow it but not at the expense of everything else,” he says.


Lauren Brown, managing director of Pulse Marketing, says start-ups shouldn’t be afraid to take to the streets in the same way NAB did during its campaign.


“Do any type of ambient activity – things that are entertaining and effective ways of getting a message out there. People don’t want to get brochures or handouts that are just about branding,” she says.


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