Bank of America Wants To Be Seen As A Benign Institution

Brands have stories to tell, and when the company in question can trace its role to pivotal moments in American history, the stories are aching to be told. Even more so when the stories can act as salve on an ugly, open wound.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the “ad” above is part of a $4 million sponsorship deal between BofA and the History Channel. The bank is integrating its story with that of the host program–America, the Story of Us, which runs through May 31.

Bank of America’s two-minute spots trumpet the bank’s influence during the era spotlighted in each episode. A segment about the Revolutionary War, for instance, features a spot about the Massachusetts Bank (later acquired by BofA) providing capital to early Americans. The mini-doc accompanying an episode about the Great Depression details how BofA helped finance construction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Other spots feature its role in funding the Erie Canal and Cecil B. De Mille movies. Who knew?
BofA staff historians developed the mini-docs. That said, don’t look for shots of Abe Lincoln waving his Bank of America ATM card. Nancy Dubuc, president of the History Channel, says that the cable network’s historians held the two-minute histories to the “highest standard of accuracy.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.