Category: Advertising

Chase to air greed-washing TV campaign

For Chase, a TV Show to Promote Its Charity

By BRIAN STELTER, The New York Times
Published: December 9, 2011

When a television network broadcasts an awards show created by a multinational bank’s marketers, what is it? An advertisement? A tribute to deserving charities? An entertainment spectacle?

On Saturday, it might be all of the above.

In a gambit to promote its charitable work — and maybe polish its image, which has suffered since the financial collapse in 2008 — JPMorgan Chase is financing and sponsoring the “American Giving Awards,” which will be televised by NBC on Saturday night. The two-hour show, with Bob Costas as host, will profile recipients of Chase donations, will be book-ended by Chase commercials and will regularly remind viewers that the whole event is “presented by Chase.”

The producers and the network suggested Friday that the awards show was a feel-good holiday season special. Kimberly B. Davis, the president of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, said it was about celebrating “ordinary people doing extraordinary things in communities.”

But to others, the show has another bottom line. It’s a “‘greed-washing’ campaign to score P.R. points,” countered Lisa Graves, whose publication “PR Watch” investigates company public relations campaigns. The $2 million in donations that will be featured on Saturday “are a drop in the bucket compared to its ultra-lush benefits for bankers who profited richly from the swaps that undermined our nation’s financial security,” she said.

The “American Giving Awards” are part of a broader business world trend. Not content to have the news media cover its good works, many companies are creating their own media, often cloaked as entertainment.

Big banks, in particular, “do a lot of socially driven programs, but they don’t consistently tell people about them,” said Steve Cone, a marketing executive for AARP who formerly worked at Citigroup and Fidelity.

And given the financial downturn, “there’s more pressure now to say, ‘We’re not all evil, here’s the good things we do,’ ” said Allen P. Adamson, a managing director at the brand firm Landor Associates.

Read more …

If you can’t win friends, buy them

Did Chase just give up winning friends by actually being a good bank and making customers happy?

As reported by the Wall Street Journal (Chasing Friends, Banks go Social, 10/25/11), Chase is holding a sweepstakes with a grand prize of $1,000,000 and the only thing you have to do to enter is to “like” them on Facebook.

As part of an advertising and marketing campaign around its Chase Freedom credit card, the New York bank hosted a sweepstakes, ended Sunday, for users who “like” the card’s page on social-networking site Facebook. The “like” function allows users to signal something they are interested in to other friends and users. The grand prize was $1 million, while $500 was given away each hour from Oct. 3 to Oct. 23.


Is Chase getting desperate for depositors?

We’ve previously reported on our theory that Chase is loosing depositors by the droves.  A recent mailer they have been sending out might indicate that the outflow has reached a crisis and Chase is getting desperate to attract more low cost capital (the thing that fuels their other businesses).

Chase, and WaMu before it has long offered a $100 (or sometimes $125) bonus for opening up a new account.  Their latest mailer offers a total of $300 for opening a checking and a savings account, quite a bump.

Chases limted time bonus offers aren’t really limited

Does putting an expiration date on an offer that never expires really lure people in?  Once again Chase is running an offer of $100 to open a checking account, which expires on 10/31/10.  The thing is, Chase, and Washington Mutual before it, have been running this offer as long as anyone can remember.

Don’t be in a rush, this offer will be around for a while.

Beware of professional credit cards

A Wall Street Journal article this morning reminded me to warn everyone about one of the banks’ newest tricks to sidestep the new rules from the Credit Card Act of 2009:  professional cards.

These cards, also known as small-business or corporate credit cards, are not subject to the limits on interest rate changes, shortened payment cycles, inactivity fees, applying payments to the lowest interest balance first, large over limit fees and changing card agreements without any advanced notice.  Banks have been inundating ordinary consumers with offers for these cards, about 2 1/2 times as many as they used to, offers that often don’t adequately distinguish these as a different class of card that is not subject to the new laws.

Chase is, of course, among the banks using this tactic heavily.  Chase’s Ink card is one of these so called professional cards that is immune to the new laws.  Being late on your new Ink card by only one day would allow Chase to raise the rate to 29.99%.   Chase’s website for the Ink card touts benefits mostly reminiscent of consumer grade cards, such as rewards and cash back, offering little distinction as to why these cards are better for small businesses, or anyone, than normal credit cards that are subject to the new laws.  Perhaps the Chase Ink card should be called the Red Ink card, as it will cost you more.

Don’t be fooled, you don’t need one of these professional cards.

Chase advertising vs the truth

I received the below junk mail from Chase a couple of weeks ago.  There are a couple of points that need clarification:

– FREE Chase Debit Card with built-in security – you don’t pay for any unauthorized card transactions if your card is lost or stolen and you report it promptly

There are way to0 many stories floating around the internet of people who have had their cards stolen and Chase refuses to consider the charges fraud.  Their fraud controls often miss obvious fraud.

– FREE voice and e-mail alerts – we will notify your if your balance is low to help you avoid overdrafts

Yea, not so much.  Their alerts come at the end of the day, after your credits and debits for the day have been processed, and thus will not help you avoid overdrafts on any particular day.

On a side note, I’ve seen a TON of Chase advertising lately; perhaps they are realizing that far too many customers (and their deposits) have and are heading for the exits and are trying to get new customers.

Chase’s full-page WSJ ad vs the truth

Chase plastered a page of the Wall Street Journal with a full-page ad today touting its success in providing loan modifications.  The true story however is far from the limited picture the full-page ad provides.

In the ad, Chase touts its opening of 51 home ownership centers and the fact that they have “offered” 750,000 loan modifications to homeowners.

The reality is quite a bit less flattering than the ad.  Of those 750,000 modifications Chase has offered, how many of them were so ridiculously ineffective that the homeowner could only decline, like one that offered a sum total of 22 cents in reduced monthly mortgage payment?  Of those that were accepted, how many of them were made permanent, a much better measure of the effectiveness of their program.  As of May, Chase had made about 47,000 loan modifications permanent, which amounts to about 6% of the total they have “offered.”

What about the success of the permanent modifications?  According to a Bloomberg article, about half of all permanent modifications make their way to default again.

So what is the bottom line?  Of the 750,000 loan modifications Chase claims to have “offered”, about 3% of them will end up being effective.  Not much to brag about really.  As to those home ownership centers, how useful can they be if they aren’t helping people stay in their homes?

Chase getting desperate, obnoxious for overdraft sign-ups

It was bad enough when Chase was sending people repeated fear-based letters about signing up for the new opt-in overdraft protection (they must stop automatically enabling this fee maker for customers starting August 15th), but now they have representatives accosting people who come to the bank to use the ATM:

Anyway, so I was in a Chase branch near my apartment in [redacted] on Saturday morning around 10am, grabbing cash before hitting up the local farmer’s market. And in the area where the ATMs are, there was a Chase employee standing there, talking to a customer. The Chase employee kept saying, “It’ll only take 10 minutes,” and the customer kept saying no. I went to the ATM, took out my $40, and went to leave when the employee stopped me. I was a little surprised – usually most people just get their money and go, right? – when the employee asked me, “Excuse me, but I have a question. Have you made a decision about your debit card overdraft coverage?” I was pretty taken aback that they are now having employees directly ask customers who are just in the bank to use the ATMs. I told her simply “yes” and walked out the door.

Chase is either desperate to shore up their fee income or has just decided that the normal bounds of being obnixious to your customers no longer applies.  Perhaps both.

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