Banks are no so friendly


BAVARIA, the major beer producer in Colombia, issued a campaign called “The Friendship Bank”. This, rose several concerns, around the consumer protection authority, the financial authority and Banks in general. So, an investigation began.

The word “Bank”, must only be used by entities duly surveilled by the Financial Superintendence. However, the Financial Superintendence, after reviewing that such word along the term “de la Amistad” – (the friendship), did not referred to financial activities and was never promoted as such, concluded that did not infringed the financial regulation.

Nevertheless, the Consumer Protection Authority was not so easily convinced and requested further information concerning the marketing campaign. After receiving said information, the Consumer Protection Authority raised several complaints regarding the campaign “The Friendship Bank”. Hence, after completing the administrative proceeding BAVARIA was fined for deceiving information.

The marketing campaign, used the following phrases:

  • The arrival of a new bank
  • The arrival of a new coin
  • The invitation to invest
  • The possibility to open an account
  • The possibility to save

With the intervention of the Financial Superintendence, BAVARIA had to change the way it was communicating with consumers, to avoid any confusion and clarified that it was not a bank and that it did not provide any financial service.

Based on the above, the advertisement was deceiving, as BAVARIA offered the idea of a beer attached to a financial activity. Nonetheless, the true message was to persuade consumers to acquire an alcoholic beverage through a promotion with different incentives.

Moreover, BAVARIA purposely omitted important elements for the decision-making process of the consumers. This is obvious when it had to change the way it was communicating based on the orders given by the Financial Superintendence.

Hence, BAVARIA was fined with approximately USD$42,550, and the decision cannot be appealed any further.

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Banks are no so friendly