Monday, February 23, 2009

Money well flushed

Trashing a marketing campaign as a waste of resources is a pretty easy, even facile, argument in most businesses' cases. When it comes to financial services companies in the recessionary year of 2009, however, I think a strong case can be made. Especially when rotoscoping is involved. So, here's brokerage house Charles Schwab pretending like they understand (and weren't partly the cause of) your financial predicament:

Man: When I think of the mess we're in right now, it's just not right.

I love the vague generalizations throughout this ad about the recession. No one comes out and says "When I think about the fact that we're in a recession" or "When I think about how the Dow has lost half its value in less than two years." I get that they aren't buying commercial time to bum people out, but this just rings hollow to me.

Graphic: Last year over 225,000 people didn't just accept it.

"They pulled the money they were losing in their retirement funds and lost it with us instead."

Face it, unless Charles Schwab offers a money market account, anyone trading stocks with Schwab lost money. Everyone has lost money in the stock market, except Warren Buffet and like three other people. It wasn't just investment bankers losing that cash, it was regular people making trades online, too.

Woman: We had our whole retirement in place and then it just went boom. You know, just up in smoke.

Where was that retirement money that went "boom" invested? The stock market. Where does Charles Schwab want you to put it? The stock market. Ahh -- logic!

Graphic: They did something about it.

"It's so much more fun when you control where your money goes down the drain!"

Man: Well I'm still being nickled and dimed, you know, like I, like I haven't lost enough already.

To me, this is the only strong part of this commercial. Charles Schwab is a lot cheaper than most places if you want to be a hands-on investor. This is probably the biggest selling point for their business in this economy.

I'm not a financial guru in any way, but it strikes me as irresponsible to appeal to people's anger at the financial industry and convince them to reinvest by themselves. This is a wildly volatile market, and if most investment firms can't read it, why would normal, non I-banker people fare any better?

Woman: One of my friends are (sic) still kind of having a hard time, and instead of dwelling on the past, I think it's time to move forward.

Utterly vapid. Truly, you have to wonder why this particular, meaningless comment was worth rotoscoping. And using up 5 seconds of air time. Also, only "one" of your friends is having a hard time? And you somehow came out totally unscathed from the financial turmoil? Maybe we should be investing with you, and not Charles Schwab.


"DUMP YOUR MONEY INTO THE STOCK MARKET RIGHT NOW! IT CAN'T GET ANY LOWER!! Unless of course it does, in which case, we totally ran an ad telling you to buy bonds."

I wonder if there's a publicly traded rotoscoping studio I could buy some shares of....


Windier E. Megatons said...

I'm pretty sure that woman says "a lot" of her friends are having a hard time. Still, this commercial is laughably vague, and I think the reason why is pretty obvious.

Adam said...

I like the awkward, clunky, and misplaced music.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I just saw the worst commercial I think I've seen in at least the past three years.

It was for Boost Mobile and had two pigs eating ham and talking about how it was okay but some fee for cell phones is not.

Anonymous said...

This is my impression of the blog writer coming home to a surprise dinner made by his wife:

wife: "Honey I made you your favorite, hamburgers"
blog writer: "Ewww, I only to eat hamburgers once a week and these buns look soggy and the tomato looks thickly sliced and those onions look red and not white...."

Now the blog writer getting a lingerie surprise from his wife:

wife: I put on some lingerie for you...
blog writer: eww, if nylons rub against me too much i get a rash and then i'll have to put balm on it and that will ruin my whole week so just get away from me.

And finally, someone asking the blog writer what they think of the song "what a wonderful world."

co-worker: Hey! I really dig that what a wonderful world song.
blog writer: ewww, i just don't like it, the guy's voice sounds all constipated and weird. and why is the sky blue? so when you hear the song it has to be day time... ewww... so many issued with the lyrics... it's just so bad...

Anyone can rag on stuff, so you're not showing anyone how smart you are, you just seem like someone that's depressing as hell to be around. kudos!