NatWest MoneySense TV Ad Causes UK Gym Industry To Flex Its Muscles

The UK Fitness Industry Association recently took exception to a NatWest Bank television commercial that was providing ways for consumers to reduce their household bills.

It seems that a nerve was touched when the commercial suggests that a low-usage gym member should quit and take up jogging instead.

Here is an excerpt from the 60-second TV commercial:

NatWest Adviser: Do you pay out for any gym membership?

Customer: I’m paying eighty-odd pound a month and going once.

Adviser: Oh my word! So maybe we could go jogging down the street.

Customer: I’ll go jogging instead, yeah, ok.

Cut to Private Banking Manager (D) with male customer.

D: Electric, gas – do you shop around for them?

Customer: No.

D: Then you should.

Back to A, talking to a young couple.

A: How much was your car insurance?

A: Nice car?

Customer: No, just a poor driver.

Cut to branch exterior. A bus drives past.

VO (B): If I was saying to you, ‘MoneySense’, what would you say to me?

Cut to A, B and C in the staff room.

A&C (together): It’s free, impartial guidance.

B: MoneySense is common sense.

All laugh

Music

VO: If you want free, impartial guidance on managing your money, pop into your local NatWest and talk to a MoneySense adviser today.

NatWest. Helpful banking.

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Dave Stalker, Operations Director for the Fitness Industry Association said that they have acted as follows:

‘The FIA has already taken several steps against this campaign. FIA Chairman Fred Turok has written to the Chair and Directors of the RBS NatWest urging immediate reconsideration of the campaign. Leading individuals from across the sector have united against the misguided and irresponsible message contained within these ads. Letters to the Prime Minister and Secretaries of State have been sent. We have taken legal advice on this matter and have lodged a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.’

The MoneySense TV commercial is part of a campaign involving impartial MoneySense Advisers, trained by leading charity, Consumer Credit Counselling Service, to offer free financial guidance across 1,000 bank branches.

NatWest Pulls the Ad

NatWest has decided to pull the TV ad’ from our screens. I would like to show you the commercial so that you make make up your own mind, but it has now been removed from video-sharing websites.

Reaction from the Web

I have checked the web to get a sense for what consumers think about the TV ad’ and the consensus seems to be that there may have been an over-reaction. Is it possible to simply quit the gym if you have signed a contract that is non-transferable? What do you think?

Please leave your comments.

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