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Arrogant Marketing – Bank of America

I wrote an entry here few weeks ago, also titled Arrogant Marketing. In that post, I discussed how some companies’ marketing approaches forget who owes whom a “Thank you” and who owes whom a “Congratulations.” Today’s post, though, is of a different nature. I heard on the radio an ad from Bank of America. It was the second time I heard the ad, and both times I had a viscerally negative reaction. Upon thinking about it I realized why.

The Bank of America ad was the one promoting their Bank of America military credit cards in advance of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. In the ad, they exhort people to show their patriotic colors by signing up for the Bank of America “military” credit cards, which proudly display the red, white, and blue. By buying the card, we supposedly show support for the country and our military.

My problem, though, with the ad, was that it seemed like it was bordering on trickery. Many companies take advantage of upcoming holidays to promote services, and many companies show their support for causes by combining promotions with charitable giving. However, Bank of America’s promotion is different because, as they indicated in the legalese at the end of the ad, Bank of America’s military credit card is not endorsed by the US military or any military organization, nor does Bank of America donate any money to any military or veterans’ causes through use of the card.

So what’s the point? They’re just selling a credit card with a picture of the Stars and Stripes. But, unless you listen to the legalese, the pitch almost makes you think that Bank of America is joining you in support of our military families. In that sense, it’s a little arrogant of them to think that they can fool consumers by positioning their ad as such. Moreover, I think it is a little dumb and short-sighted. How much expense would be involved in donating a tiny fraction of card fees to military family causes? And how much good publicity could they get? Instead, they get me and everyone reading this thinking less of them.

As marketers, we at Domus work hard to make sure that our clients market honestly and effectively, without making mistakes like this. For more information, please click on our web site for more.

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