The other day I happened across the construction site for Danvers Bank, which is currently being erected on Waltham’s Main St. And my first reaction was to sigh and mutter “Great, another bank. Just what we need.” BUT THEN, I saw the ad they had erected on the side of the fence:

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It reads as follows:

Hooray. Another bank. You were probably hoping for a coffee shop or an exotic pet store. You can never get enough coffee. Or tree frogs. But let’s explore what another bank means for you. Pure and simple, it’s healthy competition. Each bank has to earn the right to be better. Through better rates, through better service. One of them will prove that they’re willing to work the hardest for your business and your money. So while some people will walk on by and think “Oh, great, another bank.” You, dear reader of long copy bank posters, will realize there’s something here you stand to benefit from. And deep down you’ll smile to yourself and say “Hooray. Another bank.”

I’ve trashed businesses a lot here recently, and it’s true that I’d like to see all corporations crumble. But I can’t help liking this kind of ad, which anticipates my scoffing and responds with humor. This is one of the most perfect attempts at persuasion I’ve seen in an advertisement.

6 comments on “New Waltham Bank Employs Clever Self-Referential Ad”

  1. Daniel Ortner Says:

    Nathan

    Please bring this ad to our Capitalism class tmrw! I am sure Prof. Gaskins will love it!

  2. Phil Says:

    How’s it looking? The first design they submitted got rejected because it was too ugly.

  3. Rachel GK Says:

    You really can’t ever get enough tree frogs.

  4. Alan Royals Says:

    “it’s true that I’d like to see all corporations crumble”
    lulz crazee lib cat

  5. Nat Says:

    They’re marketing to your cynicism, just as other ads market to your vanity or whatever trait they think will get you to pay money for your product. Do you applaud McDonald’s ads which make their burgers look delicious? They’re equally effective.

    You’re just noticing a well-executed money grab because it targets you instead of someone else.

  6. Cynic Says:

    Nat,

    That’s true. So the question to ask, as with most campaigns, is this: does the marketing comport to reality?

    In the case of DanversBank, the answer is a qualified yes. It’s a relatively small, local bank that’s expanded rapidly during the current downturn. It’s been able to do so because it avoided exploitative subprime loans, didn’t hold FM bonds as capital, and has remained profitable. Its loan volume is up 6.2% in the first six months of the year, which is a huge bonus for local businesses at a time when most banks have severely curtailed lending. Those loans are mostly funded through its own cash flow, allowing it to extend credit even as the capital markets have remained mostly frozen. It has the standard charitable foundations, which doesn’t distinguish it from other financial institutions but is better than not having them, but it does a better job than the national banks of focusing its grants on small, local organizations in small amounts.

    So, yeah, it really does do good things for the community when a relatively small bank opens a branch, to compete with the innumerable Bank of America branches in the area.

    The caveat is that until January of 2008, DanversBank was a cooperative. In many ways, that’s a superior model for the interests of its members/customers. Its de-mutualization entailed spinning off another charitable foundation, which hardly compensates for the longterm loss. But if it hadn’t managed to float a public offering before the market collapsed, it would’be been poorly positioned to expand, as it has, to fill the void in local markets left by the irresponsible national financial institutions. An irony of capitalism, if you like – customers in much of the eastern part of the state, including Waltham, are better served for having DanversBank expand into their markets, but the old customer base couldn’t have financed such an expansion as members of a cooperative, and lost a 150-year-old financial institution.