Has Revolut handled a potential PR disaster like a boss?


Revolut, the $1bn Unicorn Challenger bank who only received their European Banking License back in December ruffled a few feathers with their recent ‘tongue-in-cheek’ tube advertising campaign.

Revolut: You ok, hun? Tube Advert.  Credit: Iona Bain (Twitter: @Ionayoungmoney)

Revolut: You ok, hun? Tube Advert.

Credit: Iona Bain (Twitter: @Ionayoungmoney)

An anti-Revolut revolution soon began on Twitter and quickly gained significant momentum, eventually being picked up by the BBC and the Guardian, amongst others.

There were three main concerns voiced about the campaign:

  1. Single-shaming

    For some being single is a life-stage, or conscious decision. For others it just is what it is.

    This element of a larger Ad campaign, however, seems to have cut quite close-to-the-bone for a variety of reasons of which we aren’t qualified to comment on in this post.

  2. Open Banking

    Trust and loyalty are nearly always top of any list when any consumer is asked asked what is important to them when selecting a bank. Since the inception of PSD2 last year, third-party providers have had access to what many of us value most - our data.

    By claiming “12,750 people” ordered a single takeaway stirred some into thinking this was potentially ‘real’ data exposure. Others, however, insist the joke is on Revolut and the data was inaccurate after all, they “order for six people”.

  3. Spotify Ripoff

    Back in 2016, Spotify ran a series of Ads within which they managed to titillate rather than alienate users and prospective Spotifiers by using unusual data within the body of the Ad.

    People are less sensitive about sharing what they listened to than their potential spending habits, it seems.

    Interestingly, Spotify’s global executive creative director, Alex Bodman, told The Drum: "Some of our favourite songs on Spotify are cover versions, so who are we to judge?"

When asked for a response to the accusations by the BBC, Revolut’s head of Marketing said that the offending ad was “due to come down soon” and pledged that the company will be “more careful” in the future.

In a bid to win over their fans (and those prospects they may have offended) Revolut soon resorted to form by offering to host a drinks event on Valentine’s day for anyone who doesn’t yet have plans.

Revolut Valentine’s Day Evening Drinks Invite.

Revolut Valentine’s Day Evening Drinks Invite.

As a Revolut user since the Beta, I have always admired the Revolut communications team. They’ve not got an easy job, but if there’s an outage I often know about it before I’ve encountered the issue and the style is often colloquial; which is how I prefer things. It is, however, a strong case study for why you should use a Marketing Agency (shameless plug).

Whether there will be any long-term impact from the misjudgement or not remains to be seen, but a note to any junior marketers/PR out there; acknowledge the crisis, act quickly and all just may be forgiven. 

About GROW: in London

GROW: in London is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency based in London but operating from Shoreditch to Sydney. If you’re looking at your Outbound Marketing Strategy, we can make prospects and competition pay attention. Contact us today.