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the Big Blog Company | NAB Visa Mini or marketing gone haywire
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
September 23 2006
NAB Visa Mini or marketing gone haywire
Adriana Cronin-Lukas

This is what happens when marketers try to be trendy these days. The result is the most ill-considered banking product ever devised.

...a National Australia Bank (NAB) Visa Mini - confoundingly counter-intuitively, this card’s most notable feature is that it’s about half the size of a conventional credit card. Apparently this distinction alone will irresistibly and relentlessly reel in the target demographic - fashion conscious twenty-somethings (I think that might include me!) - but NAB has other slick devices in store to simultaneously deliver a KO in the coolness heavyweight championship of the banking world whilst obfuscating the somewhat steep interest rate levied on any transactions billed.

Well, perhaps all could be forgiven if the cool level was sufficient. But not when combined with plain dumb.

Why not hang your Visa Mini on your mobile phone using the purpose-built attachment, o budding sophisticate? Does it look cool, and it is also great for the person who finds your misplaced Nokia; if they exhaust your mobile credit telephoning Siberian astrologers, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars because instant replenishment is quite literally on hand! Now that is convenience.


For the truly elite - the style aristocracy - why not subtly incorporate the Visa Mini into a piece of bespoke jewellery, like so? Yes, it probably would require less effort to don a prominent sign displaying “ROB ME” painted in large flourescent letters and then wander down the darkest, dodgiest backstreet alley in an effort to discover a smackhead suffering profound withdrawal symptoms so you can shove your Visa Mini between his chattering teeth. But that’s simply not how they do it in Europe, philistine.

or it just plain don’t work!

...what if the cardholder wishes to transact via an automatic teller machine or a manual imprint device or a vertical-loading swiper unsuited to such generation-NEXT Mini cards? Oh ye of little faith, those clever folk at NAB and Visa are one step ahead of the likes of you and I. If you are one of the select fashionistas who manages to successfully obtain a Visa Mini card, you will also receive a Visa Mini Companion Card, known in-house as Visa non-Mini Mini, which financially functions identically to your Mini card as it is linked to the same credit account. Instantly, it should be obvious to all that the inclusion of this extra card represents rare value - two cards from just one application! - but do not neglect to observe that the Companion Card has also been ingeniously designed to share the exact same dimensions of a conventional bank card!

Interestingly, there is a comment by a reader on one of the product review sites, which rings a bit, well, shall we say false. I just wonder to what extent Ms Caroline Liang’s summer job is related to marketing… But let’s not dwell on the detail. Let’s go for the big picture.

This is where marketers ‘lose it’. Blinded by the number of trends and deafened by the noise of the mouse-clicking, iPod-carrying, mobile-wielding Generation XYZ, their unerring instincts tell them that combining all that with a financial product AND accessories is a sure way to grab that desirable ‘demographic’. Based on their fundamental misunderstanding of who creates and ‘provides’ for a growing number of ‘consumers’, their fate is looking less inspiring than this accesorising suggestions for the Visa Mini.

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