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A bank’s strong message of resilience in Enabling Success


Union bank

The new Union Bank television commercial (TVC) titled ‘Enabling Success’ is a cannonball fired against Nigeria’s socio-economic realities, cloaked in an inspirational as well as persuasive content for the target audience. It is not a typical TVC with 80 to 90 per cent PR content, but in fact a rarity in today’s commercial content that intervenes in socio-economic concerns of the people.

“Enabling Success” disrupts the norms, challenges the status quo, while serving the original function of drama in the society, which is to imitate life. The opening male voice-over in ‘Enabling Success’ registers the nationalistic sentiments that run through the production. Culled from Nigeria’s former National Anthem, ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee,’ the message hinges on a commanding view of our socio-economic and political climate, examining the sides of the government and the governed.

It begins with a man jugging past a collage of campaign posters, which reminds the viewers of the days of promises and persuasive talks from politicians. Next, a woman prepares her three children for school while a young man washes his commercial motorcycle outside his apartment in eagerness to start the day’s routine. In the voice over’s words, “our daily struggles to make ends meet united us”. Whilst referencing corruption as a national plague, not synonymous with any particular tribe or people, it can be said that “Enabling Success” supports the subject matter of national unity.

Detailing the various instances where corruption had proven to be a problem across the social classes of people depicted in the video, it touches on the issue of greed, dishonesty and oppression. For instance, a man is stranded in a deserted place because his car broke down. Perhaps, his mechanic has charged him for fixing the same car troubles in the past.

Education sector was not spared in this social commentary captured in the TVC. The voice-over code switches to pidgin English while revealing that lecturers oppress students. This reality is not far-fetched, recalling the recent news about a student of a reputable federal university, who had a nasty encounter with a professor that demanded for sexual gratification. There are other instances at the universities and very likely, other higher institutions of learning where lecturers impose their books on students as recommended texts and even bar students who refused to buy their books from attending classes or writing tests.

In the Union Bank commercial video, there is also reference to the aggressive behaviour of commercial bus drivers towards passengers; the inability of artisans to meet deadlines and the plight of start-ups in securing financial assistance from banks; the terror with which officers from local government authorities deliver their responsibilities of tax collection and permits issuance.

Strangely enough, the voice over is silent at the black out scene. There is no mention of power failure or the cause of it. It seems all too familiar. Afterwards, the young photographer who looks dejected moves to start his smoking generator (I better pass my neighbour), lighting up his studio and with the hope that despite the challenges, he will own his business someday.

For the commercial tricyclist, it is an upgrade to get a vehicle as taxi- one that is deserved after his painstaking effort at making ends meet on a minimal budget.

The 2minutes 34seconds video ends with cheering words: This bank understands what it means to push through challenges and yet believe.” That is basis for the commercial- to show a sense of empathy and a way out of the challenges that accompany everyday survival.

Although the Union Bank’s mantra for many decades had been “Big, Strong and Reliable”, this “simpler, smarter bank” proves to be one step ahead of others in being a societal vent for its customers with this new television commercial. As suggested by the title, “Enabling Success”, the bank seems poised to dabble into our sea of struggles and rescues anyone who dares to dream, not complacent in being just a doubting Thomas. Although, many viewers will ask in silence how UNION Bank is part of the sustainable solutions to the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, the answer lies in individual’s curiosity to find out what the bank offers as services.

“Enabling Success” commercial is a product of good scripting, creativity and visual metaphors. It transcends the usual “Bank with us” narratives, telling the potential and existing customers in more ways than one that the financial institution cares. Hence, the production gives the bank a human face with a sensitive disposition in delivering a bull’s eye message.

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