Everyone has an opinion

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Including the PM, it seems. And he's not afraid to tell everyone about it, either. Just off the top of my head, Kevin Rudd has voiced his opinion on everything from Bill Henson to Kyle Sandilands, and had a go at The Chaser on the way through. Now, the latest target for his disapproval is Westpac, it seems.

Westpac, to be fair, hiked interest rates much further than the RBA did, but that's their decision to make. I have no doubt that the board pondered the hike, weighed it up against consumer backlash, and chose to make that change for a very good reason. Not to say I agree with it, but I wasn't in the board meeting, either. If you're a Westpac customer, and you don't like it, you have a choice.

The ad itself (you can see it here) is a very quick explanation of the global financial crisis, and the bank's justification for the rate hike. It is an accurate - if somewhat over-simplified -  explanation of how banks and the money market works.

So what's wrong with it? Well, I'm not quite sure. Kev has spouted a lot of guff about how the bank shouldn't have compared homes (big dollar important stuff) to banana smoothies (small dollar not-important stuff, presumably). But, I spent six years at university boiling big concepts down to simple transactions involving 'widgets' or 'bottles of lemonade' to be better able to understand them. This is not a new idea. It's actually a really good aid to understanding. Since Westpac's aim was education in this instance, I think they chose a suitable method. And I happen to be partial to a good banana smoothie.

The only criticism I can possibly level at Westpac in this case is that they make an assumption that the average consumer doesn't understand financial markets. I can see how some more educated customers might be offended at that assumption, but let's face it - who does understand global financial markets? Really? And if these customers understand it so well, why are they clicking on a link that explains it anyway?

In the meantime, there's a little meeting going on in Copenhagen ... and our Prime Minister is commenting on banana smoothies. Who is the one really making a gaffe here? Westpac, or the PM?


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