Social Media Case Study: National Australia Bank

On February 14, 2011 National Australia Bank (NAB) launched a very public and embarrassing ‘break-up’ from the other banking conglomerates including, ANZ, Westpac and CommBank. 

It started with a tweet

NAB tweeted, “Sooooo stressed out. Have to make a tough decision and know I’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings. Arrggghhh.”

Understandably, people thought this was just a NAB employee who mistakingly posted on the wrong Twitter account.  That was until 60 videos appeared on YouTube of NAB employees breaking up with other bankers around the country and ran a full-page “Dear John letter” in the newspaper the very same day.   

Perhaps the best part of the break-up letter was the oh-so cliche, “It isn’t you, it’s me.”

The campaign took to the sky, water, streets, bank offices and restaurants, announcing the break-up between NAB and ANZ, Westpac and CommBank.  One bank executive meeting was surprised by three singing waiters (or so they thought) but after a catchy song, they were served a large cake stating they had been dumped.  NAB citing their reasoning for the break-up was to prove, “they act and think different than other banks.”

NAB pointed to substantial changes they had made over the previous years to show customers they were striving to be much fairer by eliminiating several banking fees, extending lower mortgage & loan rates and improving their customer service. 

The break-up goes viral 

Over the span of a few days, NAB became the #1 most trending topic on Twitter across all of Australia and received 100,000+ visits to their break-up blog.   

The real ROI:

  • NAB is now ranked #1 in customer service surveys, up from last place.
  • 79% increase in home loan inquiries.
  • 50% increase in credit card applications.
  • 20% increase in new accounts.


The campaign went on to win a Cannes Lion 2011 award for Best Use of Media Relations.  Ultimately, the goal of the campaign was to change people’s perceptions of a large financial institution.  This integrated customer-centric campaign has people across Australia slowly developing trust in an industry typically not worthy of it. 

Let’s hope United States financial firms are paying attention. 

To learn more about the campaign, visit NAB on YouTube or their blog