Sunday, November 9, 2014
Ally's bankless banking commercials: Oddly Familiar, Oddly Aggressive
In one way, these ads look a lot like all of the other ads out there- this one in particular does the usual "white guy standing in the middle of a massive, immaculately decorated, gleaming-white-clean living room" (seriously, why does everyone in TV land have to possess living rooms and kitchens larger than my apartment?) That's the "familiar" part. All white people in tv commercials live in multi-million dollar homes with cavernous rooms that look like they are maintained by 6-man cleaning crews. Got it.
But in another way, these ads practically beg us to dislike Ally Bank. The operator is always sneering at the concerns of the potential customers. In one I did earlier this year, a woman tells the Ally Bank Phone Bank Serf "I'm nervous about trying new things. " Instead of just explaining why Ally Bank's "no place to complain in person, your money is at the mercy of a computerized phone menu" strategy is a good thing, the operator challenges this "irrational" fear- "what's wrong with trying new things?" (and the message is instantly botched- like it is in this ad- by showing examples of why the caller is exactly right to worry.) In this ad, the caller's "I don't like hidden things" is not greeted with "I understand, here's why you have nothing to worry about" but rather "why is that?" Again and again, Ally comes off as an aggressive car salesman challenging their potential customers to reach way down, find their guts, and just sign on the freaking dotted line, you weird spineless coward you.
What's the deal? Here's my take on Ally's Bottom-Line Strategy:
1. Ally Bank is the intelligent choice for very successful people. If you want to be successful like these people on tv, you'll go with Ally Bank.
2. Ally Bank gets that No Branches is a legitimately scary idea (no WAY I'm handing my money over to a company that will never, EVER provide a person I can sit down with and look in the eye if I ever have an issue with them, but that's just poor, unsucessful, cowardly me) so it's focused on shaming potential customers into buying in- "what's the matter with you? Are you deranged? Get with it. Just give us your money. We'll always be here, just a phone call and 20 callers in the queue ahead of you away. You don't like walking into banks and sitting down with people and discussing stuff anyway. That's for cowards."