Westpac’s heartstring-pulling new ad that focuses on a divorcing couple has viewers sharply divided, with some praising the bank for tackling the pain of broken families head on and others saying the ad is insensitive.
Th TV advertisement, which first ran during the hit reality show Married at First Sight on Sunday night, was directed by Garth Davis, who won accolades for his direction of the 2017 film Lion starring Nicole Kidman, and features a version of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’ as its soundtrack.
The one-minute video begins with a young boy, who is watching his mother struggle online with her finances. He decorates their lounge with fairy lights to cheer her up, and is the ‘man of the house’ when it comes to getting rid of a big spider. Then, the man who’s clearly his father comes to pick him up. They travel in silence on the train and then read a book in bed, and it’s clear that his dad loves and misses him.
“If you’re separating, there’s help. We can ease the financial uncertainty,” is the simple message from Westpac at the end of the ad.
Some viewers online praised the video as a touching representation of the realities of a relationship split.
“Absolutely beautiful,”one viewer commented. “Thank you for putting a spotlight on what’s now very common.”
Another added: “Love this ad!! Can also say that it rang true with me, first hand experience with the sadness of a separation and the help I received at the time from Westpac.” Several commenters said the ad made them cry with emotion.
But others argued that the ad was “offensive”. “Many children’s parents are going through separation and these children are finding it hard to cope. This ad is so graphic and certainly distressing for young children & parents going through separation,” a viewer wrote.
Another added: “This ad is distasteful and unnecessary!”
The polarising nature of the TV ad is designed to draw attention to Westpac’s new series of guides and services for couples going through separation and divorce.
The bank has introduced three options that will lower its customers’ mortgage repayments as they grapple with splitting their finances; a ‘mortgage repayment pause’ available if the customer is ahead on their scheduled repayments, payment reductions of 50 per cent for up to six months, and the possibility of switching a mortgage from principal and interest to interest-only.