NatWest has received criticism for ‘mansplaining’ finances and ‘patronising’ women in a marketing stunt initially designed to do the exact opposite.
In a recent campaign, the bank partnered with Stylist magazine to apologise for failing to communicate with female customers in an effective way.
One element of the campaign saw a traditional banker wearing a bowler hat and holding flowers alongside the words: “He’s been patronising and sexist and he’s sincerely sorry.”
However, many have accused the campaign of missing the mark, believing its wording suggests women find money more difficult to understand than men.
In a printed letter within Stylist, an apology was issued as part of the original campaign: “We know we haven’t always got it right when it comes to communicating with our female customers. We’ve come a long way, but there’s more work to do. That’s why we’re pledging to change how banks talk to women.
“Research has revealed that 83% of women feel banks don’t make products easy to understand. We are alarmed by this. This needs to change – and fast.”
Ironically, many took to Twitter to mock the campaign’s attempt at speaking to women.
— Nathalie Gordon (@awlilnatty) May 22, 2019
Woah @NatWest_Help @StylistMagazine! I couldn’tdecide whether we were still in Mary Poppins-era Edwardian Britain or it was April Fools Day! You’ve got a very long way to go with that #pledge! Couldnt have been any more off the mark with this #patronising #sexist ad! #womansworth pic.twitter.com/jXx3jBX0h6
— Vicky Planet (@AERO747) May 27, 2019
Trying to think why this campaign makes me quite so furious, when I’m all for female financial empowerment. Maybe I’m just SO OVER men mansplaining what’s gone wrong in the past. FFS give me a woman to tell me what’s going to be put right in future @StylistMagazine @Natwest_Help https://t.co/ufgd7mPnLe
— Faith Archer (@MuchMore_Less) May 23, 2019
A NatWest spokesperson has since released a statement explaining the reasoning for the campaign, though the bank is yet to apologise for patronising women in a campaign designed to apologise for patronising women.
They said: “We wanted to start a conversation about how banks talk to their female customers about money.
“While many women feel confident when it comes to finances and investing, research has shown that a huge number of women don’t feel the same way.
“A recent YouGov survey highlighted that 83% of women feel like banks don’t make products easy to understand and we want to play a leading role in fixing that.
“Whenever we discuss issues of gender equality, there are a small number of people who react as we have seen. However, we have been deliberately provocative to raise awareness of the fact there is gender disparity within the financial sector.”