Sharebuilder from ING Direct wants to help put you “on the road to happiness.” Which is an odd way to characterize the stock market, given the hard core unhappiness it has been responsible for, of late.
The 30-second spot entitled “Owners” features three Main Street Americans in everyday life – a bike courier, young professional and construction worker – who are empowered to take control of their future by using ShareBuilder to invest in the world’s leading companies. The construction worker unloads reams of cable from his truck and declares, “I own my wireless company. Not the other way around.”
Excuse me? I know it’s a commercial and we’re being asked to suspend disbelief, but Sharebuilder isn’t Disney, so I’m not really in the frame of mind to suspend disbelief. What I’m prepared to do is lump this pitch in with all the rest of the financial world’s lame come ons.
What’s sorely lacking from this spot (and others like it) is honesty and the genuine readiness to deal with what’s actually going on in the world. Lots of angry people don’t trust financial institutions. That’s what’s going on in the world. Brand managers in the financial services category and their agency partners need to work from that starting place.
Ed Cotton of Butler Shine Stern & Partners also has some thoughts on the topic.
Banking still has a lot to learn from how to respond to the current crisis. It does not seem like any of them get it, most don’t want to acknowledge the realities of a changed context and a changed relationship. Most of the recent marketing efforts fall short, they show a lack of an insight and an inherent desire to turn the clock back to the days of old.