Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Making Money Make Sense?

I'm confounded by BMO's new advertising campaign with the slogan "Making Money Make Sense." There are several ads associated with this slogan so far: there's the passengers on the subway who don't understand finance, the couple who can't make sense of whether or not they eat out too often, and the two squash players unsure of retirement. There may be more, but these ones stick out in my mind because of how strange they must appear to the average income Canadian.

The passengers on the subway is a silly ad because it's the ad that says something while saying nothing. When the subway passengers end up in the bank, the helpful nicely dressed bank lady basically tells them that she can help them with a good plan. One of the passengers wearing an ipod takes out one of her earphones and says "wow, I actually understood that." Well, A plus to you, girlfriend, but the helpful bank lady has actually told you nothing that a fortune cookie couldn't tell you, which is that planning is good.

Then there's the couple that isn't sure if they spend too much eating out. While the helpful banker tells them that BMO will help them track their expenses and help them keep control of their finances, there's another simple solution to this that doesn't include pie charts. You can keep your receipts and add them up yourself.

And then there are the two squash players, wondering if they will ever be able to retire. Thank goodness the helpful bank lady is there to help them with their RRSP contributions and investments. The funny thing about this scenario is the fact that a lot of people don't actually HAVE money in their accounts to make this type of investment, so it's really not the investment that confuses them, it's finding money to make them.

The fact is, I don't think people find money complicated. I think people find that money is lacking and that makes their lives complicated. There are very few people out there who have much money left after they pay their basics: food, rent, utilities, debt repayments, and yes, the odd restaurant here and there (not so many that they can't figure out if they spend too much on eating out). And when there's a little extra, that's when people buy RRSPs or pay back large student loans.

The only thing that I can conclude from this strange ad campaign is that money doesn't make sense to those who have too much of it; which means that the key clientele for BMO must be those who are NOT the average Canadians. Because for the rest of us, money makes perfect sense; and we all wish we had a little bit more of it.

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