Attention advertisers: bank robberies aren’t funny.

In Ad Creative, Just Thinkin' on January 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Sorry to depart from my usual good humor today. Bear with me, THAT Mike will be back soon. But today, I’ve had it. First it was E-Trade a while back, portraying how banks treat their customers. Then Jimmy John’s. Now Direct TV. If this makes me the “grumpy old man” of the marketing world, so be it, but here goes: enough already with the bank robberies.

There’s NOTHING funny about people being ordered to the floor by angry, shouting thugs bearing guns. NOTHING. Life has enough stresses – and Lord knows, enough very real people have been terrorized and yes, even killed, when these scenes play out in real life.

Maybe those sheltered  young ad agency creatives haven’t spent much time in banks, with their over-sized paychecks being direct-deposited and their cash needs handled nicely by the ATMs positioned conveniently adjacent to their Starbucks-and-sushi lifestyles.

What’s next?  Some witty repartee about backpacks at the scene of a school shooting, or maybe a hip young officer mourning the damage to a Beamer involved in a drunk driving fatality?

If you creatives are unable to recognize poor taste when you see it, how about if you just think of something else just because the bank robbery idea is trite? (I’ll take what I can get.) And advertisers, if your agency brings you a concept like this, I will be happy to supply a better alternative, free of charge, in 24 hours or less.

Prime time may be dominated by CSI: Wherever,  but there’s more to our world than that. And there certainly ought to be more to our advertising.

  1. I think that the marketing people are trying to get a little shock value out of their commercials. I think the argument could be made that many see my generation as desensitized.

    • I suspect you are correct. And it is my personal opinion that your generation IS somewhat desensitized — and it is largely due to things like this! (No way to tell, of course, but I’ll bet if these spots ran even 20 years ago, they would have generated criticism and controversy, but now? Hey, we’ve all seen worse, so they get a societal “shoulder shrug” at worst.)

  2. MIKE,


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