Press "Enter" to skip to content Red Tag Sale Leaves Us Cold

I got a tip from someone at one of the big banks who swears they’re not submitting this to bad-mouth one of their competitors, merely to point out a particularly bad online customer experience.


We’ll take them at their word because looking at right now does bring some questions to mind…

I just went to after having attended a luncheon that they sponsored and I was interested in getting more information on the luncheon series. I was shocked to see that currently when you plug their URL into your browser, you are re-directed to a page dominated by a special offer. You then have to click on a link to access their real web page.

Things then go from bad to worse when I try to find some information about the luncheon series. Their homepage is now filled with red tags with specials all over them. Isn’t it Toyota who holds the brand for a "Red Tag event"? From here, I have to click on "sponsorships", then "Community Sponsorships", then scroll down the page to "Women of Influence Luncheon series", then click on the link for the HSBC branded website ( – terrible name), you get a pop-up that you are leaving the site and have to agree before getting to where you wanted to go in the first place! Has their marketing department taken control of their publishing?

Please, please write about this. This is the worst customer experience I’ve encountered on a large corporate site in a very long time.

This is a classic case study in what happens when a marketing department takes control of a website. To make matters worse, they don’t use a cookie, so you have to see that damn offer message every time you go to their site.

I’d rather you didn’t use my name but you can say I’m a competitor in the financial services industry who doesn’t plan on showing this to their own marketing department for fear they will fall in love with the idea. "Hey – I didn’t know you could do that? Can we do that?"

I see a few issues here:

  • How promotional and a banks home page be?
  • How do you integrate special sites (for community events or promotional microsites) into the overall flow of your site?  People will assume they can get to everything you do from your home page, but how do you support that?
  • How much control should marketing have over very functional sites like banking?

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.  Add your comments below…