German efforts to persuade City of London bankers to relocate to Frankfurt after Brexit have been branded “cheesy” and “embarrassing.”
Frankfurt is already the home of the European Central Bank and its leaders see Brexit as an opportunity to make the city the EU’s new financial centre.
Britain’s financial services minister John Glen said on Wednesday that he backs Bank of England estimates that 5,000 financial services jobs will go to the continent after Brexit.
Facing competition from Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin for those jobs, German leaders are pulling out all the stops to attract the City’s biggest companies to Frankfurt.
One of Frankfurt’s biggest problems seems to be persuading those companies’ staff that they’re not about to trade in one of the world’s busiest cities for a cultural desert.
That’s prompted the city body charged with promoting its finance hub, Frankfurt Main Finance, to launch an animated video that’s designed to dispel any “prejudices” about life there.
You’ve heard about the Eurozone’s leading financial centre, but have you ever met Frankfurt? Take two minutes & enjoy hearing about the advantages of life in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Who knows? You just might fall in love with #DestinationFrankfurt! https://t.co/msXtJ8Ox1X pic.twitter.com/S4NIy4fM9Q
— FrankfurtMainFinance (@FMFdigital) October 9, 2018
The scene is a one of the city’s happening bars. A woman called Nathalie approaches and opens with the line: “We’re your parent’s architects because you’re well built?”
The man then introduces himself James Bond style as “Furt, Frank Furt” before selling the benefits of the city, which includes a graph highlighting its relatively low living cost compared to London.
“I’m sold,” says Nathalie as she raises a glass to Frankfurt.
Others though haven’t been so impressed by the city’s hard sell – it’s been widely mocked on social media with commentators saying London has nothing to fear from the competition.
London-based PR consultant Chris Whitehouse called it “cheesy nonsense.”
— Chris Whitehouse (@CllrWhitehouse) October 10, 2018
Mark Wallace, the editor of the Conservative Home website, said it should be shown to anyone in the City thinking about moving to Frankfurt.
Next time someone says everyone in the City of London is going to up sticks to Frankfurt, force them to watch this advert and watch them cringe so hard they literally snap in half: https://t.co/KTXOalO03L
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) October 10, 2018
And the criticism can’t be written off because it’s from Brexit supporters, because it seems the Germans agree.
Nicolai Von Ondarza, a political scientist from Berlin, wrote: “Brexit brings out the worst in us.”
#Brexit brings out the worst of us.
Seriously, Frankfurt, this is your pitch to win over London finance? This? https://t.co/F3XWChzZba
— Nicolai von Ondarza (@NvOndarza) October 11, 2018
The London correspondent for German business newspaper Handelsblatt called it “embarrassing.”
Embarrassing video: How Frankfurt tries to win London bankers https://t.co/s1Xi72pdVn
— Carsten Volkery (@CarstenVolkery) October 10, 2018