Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Having trouble sleeping?

Why don't you watch a non-profit/educational financial services ad?

This commercial is so unremittingly boring, it makes you wonder if TIAA-CREF forgot they were shooting a non-profit/educational financial services ad. That's some yawn-inducing subject matter -- spice it up a little! First order of business would be picking a song that isn't in a comatose tempo. Alternatively, use the same song ("Somewhere" by Bernstein/Sondheim), but pick a version of it that isn't mind-numbingly dull.

There isn't much else to interest the viewer. Visually, this is a wasteland. Here are the scenes depicted in the commercial:

Slow motion shot of a man clutching a sample of something in storage area
Slow motion shot of a woman painting stage scenery
Slow motion shot of a man tuning a piano
Slow motion shot of a man teaching students in a dimly-lit lecture hall

Why are all these filmed in slow motion? Is it supposed to be like "Check out these heroes"? These four people look like they're just praying for retirement, "Please make the piano tuning stop.... I can barely move my back, and my ears throb with poorly-done West Side Story covers every night." They all look sad and pained. Combined with the monotone, verbose voiceover, it really is a forgettable commercial.

But just when you were about to drift off, the tagline:

Financial Services for the Greater Good

Really? You're going with "the greater good"? TIAA-CREF is a massive company, with $406 billion in assets. That's "billion" as in "fucking billion." Does $406 billion sound "greater good"-y to you? Is the "greater good" really their mission? Or is it just their client base they use to make money? If they were truly about the "greater good," why were they picketed in 2005? Why would they pay their CEO a significant chunk of that $406 billion? Maybe it's not so much the general "greater good" as it is the company's "greater good."

It's bad enough TIAA-CREF had to run such a genuinely bad series of ads, but to make a bad and disingenuous series of ads? Well, that's just wrong. And that's why this site is here.


Windier E. Megatons said...

Since the usual commercial strategy is to make a product look appealing, perhaps TIAA-CREF is trying to talk up retirement by making it seem slow and lazy. Just like the ad!

Zambo said...

Funny. Yeah, I think it's supposed to be that these people have planned responsibly with TIAA-CREF, thusly this is how they are spending their retirement , as line before "greater good" indicates. It reminds me of a public TV underwriter spot.