Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Evil carps and CO2: a French-owned big Czech bank commits marketing suicide

The French bank Société Générale owns a majority of a top 3 Czech bank by size, KB (Komerční banka which translates as The Commerce Bank); I am a minor shareholder but not a trivially minor one. ;-) Yesterday's "merger of the decade" (Moneta Money Bank plus Air Bank plus HomeCredit CZ+SK) will create a new top 3 bank instead, thankfully; I am a larger shareholder in that one LOL.

The banking folks should work hard on preserving the money in this explosive time of inflation etc. Instead, they prepared a bunch of Christmas video clips with immature, brainwashed influencers who try to tell lots of Czechs to replace light bulbs with LED lamps on your Christmas tree, use some special kinds of paper and ropes for the gifts, and similar nonsense inspired by climate gr@tinism.

The most shocking among these clips is this one which attacks the most characteristic Czech Christmas meal, the carp. Some 500 years ago, the Czech nobility created ponds across my homeland because they realized that carp is the fanciest tasting fish that may live in the landlocked central European waters, easily beating the freshwater salmons in the rivers which the nobility found dull. About 1/2 of the carp taken from the Czech ponds is exported; the half that remains in the country is mostly consumed during Christmas! For millions of Czechs, a carp is a once-per-year meal (evening of December 24th).

Now, the video clip above – which has nothing whatever to do with the business and expertise of the folks at KB – promotes the atrocious pseudoscience about the "evil" CO2 and demands... Czechs to stop consuming carps (or at least some reduction). The video is generally hated by my nation and at this moment, the video still has ZERO likes on YouTube and very many dislikes, indeed! However, the backlash was intense. In particular, Tomáš Zdechovský, a member of the European Parliament for our Christian Democratic Union (a substantially more Christian ones than the German namesake), dedicates most of his time to this attack on the Czech Christmas and is trying to make sure that the culprits responsible for this insanity are fired, starting with the director.

Here are three articles [Translated with (free version)] dedicated to the story, for you to know something about the French-Czech pro-EU gr@tins' contribution to the atmosphere of Czech Christmas in 2021:

Komerční banka advises Czechs not to eat carp at Christmas. People are cancelling accounts and selling their shares
By Aleš Kulhánek

One of the largest domestic banking houses has come up with an unconventional advertising campaign before Christmas. For example, in short spots with influencer Lucie Zelinková, it advises people to limit their consumption and not eat carp at Christmas. The reason? To reduce the production of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Instead of carp, a fried cheese?

"Do you regularly overdo it at Christmas too? Carp, schnitzel (steak in dough), preferably twice a day, and a cookie to go with it? In the Czech Republic, 18,000 tonnes of carp are consumed at Christmas, which is equivalent to 32,000 tonnes of CO2. And that's a huge number," Zelinková says in her spot, which is sponsored by Komerční banka. "And don't you want to try it differently this year? Let's make this Christmas easier."

But it turns out that even the few figures given are full of inaccuracies. "Let's start with the fact that 18,000 tonnes of carp are not eaten at Christmas, but caught in a year. Of this, just over half goes for export, especially to Germany," Finmag magazine said on its Twitter account. "If 18,000 tonnes of carp has a carbon footprint of 32,000 tonnes, it is by far the least of all meat. So if that's what you're after, make sure you don't replace carp with pork chops. Or with a fried cheese." [LM: Independently of comparisons, 30,000 tons is still one millionth of the global man-made annual CO2 emissions, a tiny fraction, not a "huge" one. Surely our carp is more important than one millionth of what mankind is doing. I will fight hard not to allow anybody to downgrade this important tradition of my important nation beneath one-millionth of the civilization. Even if the CO2 emissions reduction were a noble goal, the CO2 emissions would drop much more if you eliminated something useless and toxic, e.g. all members of Greenpeace and the BLM.]

Cancel the accounts

This is not the only advertising that Komerční banka is directing towards sustainability at Christmas time. On the (The Atmosphere of Christmas dot CZ) website, it advises people on how to be as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, they should use recyclable paper, newspaper or fabric to wrap their presents. They should also not over-stock up on food, which they then throw away. They should make their own decorations if possible and light only with LED bulbs.

However, not everyone likes an advertising campaign that tries to speak to the Czechs' souls and change their habits, especially from a banking house. "I think wishes should be granted at Christmas. Therefore, I would like to ask you, my friends, if you have an account with Komerční banka, cancel it. Because only without clients can Komerční banka be truly carbon neutral," Honza Palička said on his Facebook profile.

Game developer Daniel Vávra (Mafia, Kingdom Come Deliverance...) then decided to sell the Komerční banka shares he had held for three years on the basis of these spots. (LM: Good for him if he can meet the three-year test to avoid the income tax LOL, I still can't.) "I don't need the bank to behave like the Green Party's central committee run by Greenpeace activists."

Carp spoil the air, says Komerční banka's spot. Its ecological Christmas moves the networks

A bizarre advertising spot for Komerční banka is stirring the Czech internet. The banking house has launched a Christmas digital campaign. It has received harsh criticism for one of its spots. It urges Czechs to be more environmentally friendly and warns that carp consumption pollutes the environment. But the video misstates figures and has drawn criticism from leading Czech figures, including politicians.

The "Atmosphere of Christmas" campaign focuses on people's unfriendly behaviour during the Christmas holidays and uses influencers to spread tips through social media on how to be greener and not produce so much carbon dioxide. Book influencer Lucie Zelinková suggests on Instagram that we should forgive ourselves for carp on Christmas Eve. Which caused considerable controversy and earned KB some harsh criticism.

Zelinková says that up to 18,000 tonnes of carp are consumed in the Czech Republic during the Christmas holidays, which is equivalent to up to 32,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. "Wouldn't you like to try it differently this year? Let's make Christmas lighter," the influencer concludes with an appeal not to have carp for dinner.

The consequences were not long in coming, and leading figures in domestic political and social life began to comment on the video. The video was criticised by journalists, fans of the influencer, as well as politicians and leading Czech personalities.

A wonderful carp commercial which is ten years old now: Master? [No no. ... He faints.] Yup yup, on TV screens, everyone can be sharp... Sharper than Chuck Norris. The new T-mobile satellite TV has a truly sharp image.

Jan Bartošek, a deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, commented on the video on his Twitter account. "According to Komerčka, carp on a plate is a bad tradition. I really don't agree with that." He also writes that "as a deputy of the South Bohemian region and a fisherman, I am offended that the foreign-owned KB is campaigning to rethink the Christmas Eve menu with traditional carp! Some things should not be subject to fashion. I wonder what would happen in France if someone wanted to take their fishermen's jobs?" asks the lawmaker.

MEP Tomáš Zdechovský has gone even further, demanding the dismissal of the director of Komerční banka. "I have already written a complaint to France. This is over the line. That was the final straw for me. The director should be terminated immediately for this!" Zdechovský concludes.

The business magazine Finmag also reacted to the post and aptly points out that the numbers are absolutely not in line with reality. "Let's start with the fact that 18,000 tonnes of carp are not eaten at Christmas, but are caught in a year. Of this, just over half goes for export, especially to Germany," says the magazine.

The video goes on to offer no alternative to carp on the festive table. For a substitute, Finmag asks "If 18,000 tonnes of carp has a carbon footprint of 32,000 tonnes, it is by far the least of all meat. So if that's what you're after, make sure you don't replace carp with pork chops. Or a fried cheese," the magazine adds.

Other posts include an apt comment from a Twitter user. "What would a Komerčka want on her plate? That would be a Christmas turkey stuffed with edible chestnuts (la Dinde de Noel), with boiled vegetables. Or perhaps oysters, fatty duck liver foie gras, smoked salmon, pancakes or goose?" says a user hitting on the French owner of KB.

"Inaccurate expertise" apologised KB

Komerční banka subsequently apologised for the inaccurate information in the video. The data from expert Viktor Třebický allegedly did not take into account the fact that half of the carp are destined for export, KB spokesman Pavel Zůbek told He adds that KB still stands by the video criticising food waste. However, he says that intensive farming of fish and carp in particular, in domestic ponds, still causes a carbon footprint and other problems.

As part of its "Atmosphere of Christmas" campaign, Komerční banka is launching a series of recommendations for a "greener" Christmas. Among other greener tips are that people should use recyclable paper, newspaper or fabrics when wrapping presents, make their own ornaments and decorations from natural materials, save food, support local suppliers or light up with energy-saving LED lights. Other influencers who work with Komerční banka recommend more tips for a "greener" holiday.

After all, Czech Christmas is no longer dominated by Christmas Eve carp with potato salad. Carp has been overtaken on the festive table by fried schnitzel with salad, while young people are less keen on the traditional fish delicacy, according to a survey by Instant Research. Fried schnitzel won over carp by a few votes. Carp with potato salad was chosen as their favourite festive dish by almost half of people aged 54 to 65, compared with just a third of 18 to 26-year-olds. The young generation attributed the greatest popularity to schnitzel with salad, 53 per cent in total. We wrote about it here.

The Commercial Bank has allowed itself too much. In uncertain times, it teaches Czechs about a better world without traditions
Mr Tomáš Mrkvička,

It's hard to believe that Komerční banka's marketing department has released advertising spots in which various influencers advise people how to behave in a way that minimises their carbon footprint. Something similar could be done by a company that has built a business on this and needs to convince the public of this direction.

The bank has crossed the line

But why would one of the largest banks venture into such waters, let alone in the very conservative Czech Republic? This is nothing short of outright marketing suicide.

Young jokers earning their money by posting more or less useless posts on Instagram advise hard-working people not to eat carp at Christmas and not to wrap presents in traditional wrapping paper, but rather in newspapers. And it does so on behalf of Komerční banka, an institution that its clients expect to look after their savings and investments conscientiously, not lecture them.

Nothing will ever be the same again

All of this is happening at a time when the established order is breaking down and life is already out of all proportion. The average person is struggling to stay healthy, to pay their hugely expensive gas and electricity bills and to ensure their finances are not eaten up by inflation. In such a situation, Christmas, full of great traditions, is a bright spot to hold on to and feel as if all is well, at least for a while.

And that's exactly when such a person is forced to watch the spots that tell them one thing: no, nothing is fine, your life is about to change from the ground up. It's just more evidence of the times falling senselessly forward. Instead of focusing on solving the epidemic, the European Union has decided to take it from the ground up and overturn all the established orders. The first big companies are already on board.

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