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ANZ Bank Called Australia Home Long Before Qantas

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Deregulation of the banking industry put enormous pressure on the ANZ and every other Australian bank back in 1984. The ANZ’s shareholder report (1984 PDF Image) indicates that increased reliance on electronic banking, coupled with the deregulated market, had put extraordinary pressure on their management teams to maintain their consumer-facing presence in the face of what they called a increasingly competitive environment.

ANZ released an advertising initiative called “The Winner” in 1984 to coincide with the Los Angeles Olympics. The purpose of their ‘corporate image publicity’ campaign was to create a favourable perception of ANZ in the community. This was in recognition that whilst ANZ had a sizable list of firsts in banking, they had not been visible in claiming credit in the community. Their stockholder reports states that “[i]n a market-driven environment, it is an advantage to have a reputation for being innovative and creative, as well as providing a high level of professional service”. Their rather broad promotion – “ANZ The Bank That Serves You Best” – and its associated sponsorship programs (including that of the Olympics) and product advertising helped to reposition the Group in the public arena.

Part of ANZ’s self-serving marketing campaign was a Television campaign title “The Winners” (that went on to win the American Bank Marketing Association’s “Best of TV Award” for creative excellence). Watch it below.

Video: ANZ Carrying its torch globally. "The Winners", 1984.

One indicator of a truly excellent TV advertisement is when the creative genius executed within 30-second spot exceeds that of the programming either side. This is one example.

I think it’s important to recognise that Qantas’ now highly acclaimed “I Still Call Australia Home” (1997) campaign was built on the back of ANZ’s efforts. With the success of ANZ’s spot still well and truly in the minds of marketers, they were quick to capitalise on the concept after the memory of the former advert had subsided.

“Good artists copy; great artists steal.” – Picaso

Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home” was released in June, 1980, and made its way into the Qantas commercial five years after his death. While ANZ didn’t specifically use the song it’s very clear that they had music that was both close enough to illicit the same emotional connection while different enough to keep the lawyers away. In what was the most difficult series of phone calls I’ve possibly made in my life, I spoke to an original creative director that told me that while they made the effort to incorporate Peter Allen’s music, licencing was cost-prohibitive. Watch the original 1997 Qantas advert below:

Video: Qantas' "I Still Call Australia Home" Campaign, 1997.

The Chinese are building their economy almost exclusively based on stealing the ideas of others and putting a clock on it; this is an example of Qantas conducting themselves in the same way. The idea of forking then forging old concepts into something else isn’t new; this type of inspired creative has existed for as long as ideas were shared (just look at how our own competition likes to waffle in our wake). However, I think it’s important to recognise the original travelogue concept came from a boring Aussie bank.

Qantas later introduced the Australian Boys’ Choir and took ownership of the creative in what is considered one of the greatest campaigns of all time.

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