Who Are You With?

I think I'm just going to break down and create a blog dedicated to critiquing commercials. I see so many ads that make me just roll my eyes. Maybe a segment here called "Marketers Don't Get It."

I'm watching the Steelers/Patriots game and this Wachovia commercial keeps coming on. The setting is a mom and dad and son (maybe more of the family is there) and they're sharing a family dinner around a nice big table. Everyone is laughing and eating and pretty much being not a real family. Suddenly they realize that the eldest son, who is going on a vacation to some exotic locale, forgets he doesn't have his passport and it's - wait for it - in dad's safety deposit box. Dad then calls - wait again - his banker at home. The banker and her staff, according to the narrative, work through the holiday to open the bank vault before regular business hours so super-smart-offspring can get his passport before his trip.

I'm with Wachovia, says dad.

Do I really need to go into this? I mean sure if I were a dad, I'd do all I could to make sure my kid could leave on a tropical vacation instead of hang out with me over the holidays. And I don't know about you, but I have my local branch manager's home number on speed dial. And I'm positive he or she would be super happy to stop their yuletide festivities to call up her support staff and just go against bank policy and open a vault just because I needed them to.

Dude, if ANY bank did something like this for me, I'd have to make sure I kept my passport handy because I'd need it to fly back from Neverland where the Lost Boys run the financial institutions and Captain Hook is a government licensed masseuse and Wendy Lady makes cheeseburgers and Long Island Iced-Teas.

I don't know why marketers think they have to make up these nonsense stories to make their client seem benevolent. We all know this crap doesn't happen unless you live in a population starved town where you personally know the bank manager because you're married to their brother or you ARE their brother. Does anyone think this actually happens? I know you can't show the reality of banking for average Americans. You can't show how you credit debits before deposits. I know you can't show how you will charge overdraft fees to an account that has a pending deposit from a personal check that would have covered all current debits. I know you can't show how you decide to assign a limit on ATM transactions, ensuring customers will have to make two trips so they can cover their rent.

I know you can't show the REAL aspects of banking, but that leaves the unrealities and I'd rather not see how the better half lives. How about a talking bowl of cereal telling me your bank doesn't charge ATM fees. How about a grandma saying she was able to pick out a Star Trek bank card. How about a dancing pen saying they have a clean lobby and a lot of convenient locations. Make it so weird that I have no choice but to just assume the facts are correct.

The problems with these homey ads is they're so banal and sterile they are insanely unrealistic. Maybe they're just unrealistic to me. They aren't creative, they aren't doing anything but make me want to avoid this product because if the company can't tell their own ad group that they're out of touch, I don't want to deal with them.

Man, I'd hate to work at an ad firm. To think you have to abandon other ideas in favor of what we actually see would drive me to drink.

Yes I'm not doing anything important right now. Carry on.

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