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Alan Song

Dear Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald,

I am cut.

I am cut by the blatant abuse and exploitation of Australian beliefs and values for the
personal gain of large corporations, namely Westpac and NRMA. Through a swathe of
staged scenarios, these corporations abuse our national values of altruism and camaraderie
to mislead the Australian public and falsely present themselves as embodies Australian
values. This is contemptible, and extremely offensive to our everyday heroes, whose image
are exploited for corporate gain and profit.

Westpac exploits the Australian identity in their campaign 'Help when it matters. Its what
Australians do'. The montage of situations depicting 'people helping people' is inauthentic
and ill-conceived, while the setting of cliché Australian landmarks and symbols - Sydney
Harbour Bridge, Green-Gold Uniforms at the Paralympics - revealing the advertisement's
superficiality. The use of David Bowie's iconic 'Heroes' shows how Westpac forcibly
integrates Australian culture into every aspect of the advertisement to portray themselves
as 'helping Australians' and as a part of our national identity.

Meanwhile, Australians remain victims of Westpac's misconduct and excessive profiteering.


Jacqueline McDowall describes her experience with Westpac as 'absolutely and utterly
disgusting to the banking Royal Commission. McDowall had placed her trust with Westpac's
financial advice - just as the advertisement implores Australians to - and suffered as a result.
Furthermore, in an unprecedented move, Westpac has recently raised interest rates, out of
cycle and without any external pressure. The standard variable home loan rate rose from
5.24 % to 5.38 % on 19th September, adding $ 26 a month to an average 30-year $ 300,000
home loan. This, as described by Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, 'won't help Australians
already doing it tough with cost of living pressures, mainly rising power prices and private
health insurance costs'. Furthermore, this move was unjustified - the RBA board concluded
there 'was no strong case for a near-term adjustment in monetary had violated the trust of
Australians purely for profit, in a contradicting their implicated attitude in the
advertisement, and revealing their untrustworthy nature. suffered as a cle and without any
external pressure. The standard variable home loan rate rose policy-revealing Westpac
Westpac's actions clearly contradict the altruistic Australian identity representation of
Australian values portrayed in the advertisement.

NRMA is no better, through their 'Help is who we are' brand campaign. The campaign
involves a 60 second ad depicting actors helping each other while creepily singing along to b
music of the iconic Throw Your Arms Around Me' by the Hunter and Collectors. Scott Nowell
the Co-founder of the advertising firm Monkeys (which produced the ad), describes how the
advertisement attempts to show 'the role that NRMA insurance has played in defining our
national identity - revealing the manipulative nature of the advertisement itself Again, the
advertisement involves the Australian identity both through its portrayals of Australian
mateship and through the placement of Australian features such the beach, bushfires,
native wildlife in the form of a Kola, and a Sydney-based Tangara class train- w although
more subdued compared to Westpac's attempt, clearly attempt to emphasise the
Alan Song

Australian' background. The advertisement also encroaches on 'offensive' territory, through


its false and superficial portrayal of characters such as veterans.

Kind Regards,
A citizen of Australia

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