onewild thought

A collection of our views, rants and thoughts on design, branding, communication, and any other thing we find interesting.

The Moonwalker

I reveled in the drama caused by Sterling Bank’s shady jab at other financial institutions. They shot for the moon and promptly issued an apology after landing. I and many other onlookers didn’t expect this as an aftermath to the trending post.

 ‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’ Sterling bank landed on the moon and proffered an apology.

“Our apologies go out to all the banks -the likeness of whose logos & buildings featured in a post which we have since deleted. We remain committed to building an organisation that enables our youth find expression & we will continue to do this in the most responsible fashion.”

The apology appeared on the Sterling Bank social media pages on Tuesday. According to economic watchers ‘Nairametrics’, Guarantee Trust Bank reported the ad to the Central Bank of Nigeria after declining to address the post directly. 👀

In response to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria sent a letter to Sterling bank to;

“pull down the post from its Twitter handle, write and unreserved apology, through the same medium, to all banks whose logos and buildings you used in the advert and explain within twenty-four hours why regulatory sanctions should not be imposed on your bank”


The CBN named the post an attempt by Sterling bank to demarket other banks and alleged that the post was perpetuated in violation of the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act whilst generating negative comments for the entire banking industry.👀

The public however, thought differently of the apology, calling out GTBank’s alleged snitching and applauding the poster #letusseegoodbrandadverts

In ‘Of Rockets, Bombs and Shade’   i explored how the ethics of the initial post were obviously up for debate. Subtle and even sometimes direct jabs through advertisement are commonplace in the international market. The Central bank of Nigeria has decided that this might not be a new direction in the world’s advertising industry but it is definitely not the Nigerian way (of banks at least).

A Onewildcard commentator argues that; while this type of aggressive advertising is not the ‘Nigerian way’, It should be. Ads such as the Sterling Bank poster provide social commentary and start conversations on what brands are doing wrong and how to better improve their services.

Another points out what is echoed by CBN and says that such behaviour is unbecoming of brands in the financial sector.

The implications of such apologies needs to be explored. I fear that the apology will bring about more timidity of expression in Sterling bank and other brands that are looking on. For ads, creativity naturally plays a huge role in effecting a campaign that is relatable and engaging to existing and potential consumers. Having to retract such posts surely has a debilitating effect on creativity and design confidence.

At the same time, even though it was tagged #bankwars, it was not and is not a fight. All brand communications are expected to be respectful and responsible and that must be balanced alongside the natural creativity.

Sterling Bank Plc says they are committed to a brand that enables youth to find expression and i applaud that sentiment. I and the rest of the country will continue to look on as the saga unfolds.


“We need a fresh ideas, something out of the box, something out of this world.” 😛

Of Rockets, Bombs and Shade.

I was having a very mundane Saturday morning. It was calm and lazy because of the early morning showers when all of a sudden, notifications from social media started going off. I opened the first one and immediately ran off to get some popcorn because I knew from the first look that this was going to be good. 

Sterling Bank Plc had shaken the proverbial table in what has now been dubbed; The bank wars ( it even has its own hashtags) #bankwar #Thebankwars #bankswar.

This image was posted on the Sterling bank Plc social media accounts

‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’

And invariably shooting down competition in the same breath. The poster features jabs at four different financial institutions.  The first, I deduce to be Access Bank from the well known arrows. In this case however, the figure shooting the arrows was completely off target. Following is a depiction of a very famous orange square which can only be GTB but to Sterling Bank it presents as a constricting prison. Then comes the mighty elephant of First bank and the stallion of Union bank. Both are presented to be just out of reach of the figure heading to the Sterling Bank moon on a rocket. Over the weekend, responses from Union, Access and First Banks came flooding in, further fueling the Sterling Flame.

Access Bank dropped the microphone with this fiery comeback

Union Bank serves shade with a dash of rationality

First bank addressed the ad curtly and succinctly by throwing it straight into the trash can.

Sterling Bank successfully threw a curve ball which no one expected and gained 4,000 new followers and over 3,000 likes in the process. I am certain that the next few days will largely increase the company’s Top-of-mind awareness. The poster pushed engagement so much that while it did in fact shade these other banks, it also brought the spotlight to them which they promptly utilised to their own advantage.  When all the laughs have died down, this ad will become a call to action and a reason to redress the issues of public perception facing Access, Guarantee Trust, First and Union banks. I am enthused that this ad managed to begin the discussion of what can be seen as the problems of service to all of these organisations, Sterling Bank included.

Take for instance, Sterling Bank’s lack of available branches

Or First Bank’s reportedly crowded and poorly maintained halls

To GTBank’s overwhelming bank charges

At the same time the ethics behind the post needs to be explored. Understandably, such bombs are commonplace in the international market; especially in the USA(Coca-Cola and Pepsi are a prime example). It remains to be seen however, if this is “the Nigerian way”. 

These types of interactions, however you feel about them, are important to humanizing brands. More importantly, it triggers interaction and opens up your audience.

Be Human 🙂