“May your thoughts be as deep as your pockets,” a Citibank advertisement suggests. Oh yeah, that would fix me right up. Maybe my thoughts should have holes in them too, to complete the analogy. I don’t know if this is a national campaign, but Manhattan, at least, is full of Citi ads with seriously annoying fortune-cookie advice like “He who dies with the most toys is dead” and “Collecting interest does not count as a hobby” and “It’s a financial statement, not a scorecard.” The tagline is “live richly,” as if their concern was not with my finances but my well-being. I guess just asking them to collect my checking fees, keep their ATMs full, post their money market rates, and shut up would be too much.

I can barely tolerate Philip Morris commending shopkeepers for not selling cigs to minors and Anheuser-Busch moralizing against driving drunk, because I know they’ve got a gun pointed at their heads. Citibank lacks that excuse. In a world full of busybodies, do we really need a busybody multinational bank?

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 11, 2003 @ 3:11 PM | Business,Culture

6 Responses to “Veiled Threat Department”

  1. 1 1. Radio

    Awww…Shutup and get a job.


  2. 2 2. Aaron Haspel

    It won’t make the campaign any less obnoxious.


  3. 3 3. Felicity McCarthy

    The only thing much worse than a busybody bank is a busybody government. But the CitiBank ads are worse than busybody. They are "attempting" to be "philosophical". They fail. I like your fortune-cookie analogy. That is very apt. A philosphical bank is a contradiction in terms. I want my bank to take care of my money. For philosophy, I shall turn to a philosopher, or better yet, my local.


  4. 4 4. Deb

    Aaron, you could move to Wisconsin. The economy is so bad out here that they don’t even try.


  5. 5 5. Laila

    What are you talking about Felicity? How is citibank trying to be philosophical? All their ads say is that money is not the most important thing in the world. If that is deep thought to you, maybe you should stop reading blog sites and pick up a decent book.

    The ads are just trying to be sweet and funny. Does this translate into a bank that is brilliant with your money? Not necissarily, but if you are sick of stuffy old banks saying boring stuff (as I am) you might give citibank a call (as I did, but with Washington Mutual). Because as far as I can tell, all banks are the dang same. So I may as well check out one that makes me laugh.

    Sorry to be so flamey, but you hit a weak spot. I actually just surfed in because I am trying to figure out citibank’s bling-bling not bling-bling-bling ad. I just don’t get what they are saying. Any clues?


  6. 6 6. Jeff

    I find commentary on advertising to be wholly necessary, reading and educating yourself should actually cause you to question the effects of such schemes by a very large and powerful corporation handling your money. You don’t think that just maybe by telling you to not worry about money and to just enjoy life that you in fact start thinking perhaps you should be worrying about money? It is very cute to imagine your little twenty dollar bills sitting around a picnic blanket while citigroup waters flowers and rubs sunscreen on your back, but what does this do to you? In fact, most of these ads are so ridiculous they don’t even really make sense and your only outcome is perhaps being fooled to feel better about a bank that lies, cheats, and steals from people with less money than they. I’ll never understand a people’s ability to defend an obvious threat to your own psychological control. Wouldn’t a proper campaign involve saying something like "We’re a bank, we keep your money, lets not mix business with pleasure." Or "Go play in the sand, Citigroup is doing illegal adult things with your money.."


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