Let's start today by making one thing perfectly clear: the class war in America has gone hot. It may not be fought with guns, but it is a hot war nonetheless. We are not 'under threat' of class warfare. That warfare has already begun. In fact, it's been going for quite a while; the top 1% never really did stop after the 1980's. They've been continually fighting it through supporting such things as the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Citizens United ruling, and tax breaks and bailouts for, well, themselves. The war is simply more noticeable now because the Occupy Wall Street movement has given the opposition a face.
Funny how one can call a group consisting of 99% of America, including himself, the "opposition". But there you go.
So this ad, which began airing shortly before Occupy Wall Street took to the pavement may have eluded your attention. I'd like you to have a look at it.
This ad came from Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), but really, it could have come from any large bank. The Financial Brand, among other places, is confused as to what's going on here, as this is Ally's third ad campaign in two years, but to me it's rather clear.
The real message of this ad, you see, is not 'bank with Ally'. Ally's presence here is barely even necessary, and any message about their offered services is completely irrelevant. The services Ally offers are not the point, because this is not an ad for banking services. Not truly.
This is a demoralization attack.
Go back, run the ad again, and click pause immediately after the man hits 'accept'. Ignore the rest. Those first 23 seconds are all Ally REALLY wanted to show you. The rest is there as a throwaway, something to make it a commercial instead of a political ad.
Think of the underlying message here...
"Hi. We're a gigantic bank. In fact, we're one of the banks that got you and everyone you know into the mess you're all in, but we changed our name so that most of you wouldn't notice it was still us. We would like to inform you, the consumer, that you are completely and utterly screwed. We own your ass. We and all the other banks are going to, sooner or later, wheedle you out of every dime you have. And you know we're going to do it. And you know you can't stop us, either, because a) if you keep us from screwing you one way, we'll screw you another way, and b) we're just too powerful.
In fact, we're so confident that you can't stop us, we're taking out an ad campaign to rub it in your face.
And even if you could stop us, you won't. Because even starting to stop us would require you missing your precious little movie night and you're not even willing to do that because it'll piss off your spouse. And you'd have to get through a whole bunch of people tearing down any effort you make to stop us because we've beaten them down too. So you just take your little hissy fit, cram it where the sun don't shine, and get back to giving us your money. We won. You lost. Accept it."
That's basically what this ad really said. It's passed off as 'that's what the OTHER banks do, so bank with us', but keep in mind, GMAC/Ally got bailout money- three rounds of bailout money- that the Congressional Oversight Panel later determined that they really should not have gotten. They're part of it too. Ally was one of 17 banks sued by the federal government in September for subprime mortgage fraud.
So to all you out there wondering why the man in the ad ultimately caved and didn't make some bold statement like 'No! I reject this fee! I'm going to Ally!'... that's why. He's not supposed to. That would have implied that you had a way out.
That was not an ad. That was a taunt.