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Alliance Injects Some Humor Into Investing

AD REVIEWS: Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being the highest.

April 02, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: Alliance Capital

Agency: Ferrell Calvillo, New York

Challenge: Give consumers already bombarded with financial services ads reason to invest in Alliance's mutual funds.

The Ads: Four television spots are parodies of the somber pitches typical of financial services firms. In one ad, a grandfather admires his new grandson. "I'm the luckiest guy in world," he says. "Maybe not so lucky, Dad," his daughter replies, explaining that she and her husband can't afford to take care of Pop anymore. "You never saved any money, Dad. . . . You've got to move out." In another spot, a retired couple and their grown son walk along a beach. When the father declares that he is preparing a will, his son sheepishly tells him there is no need to explain. "I think we do," the father says, delivering a shocker. "Your sister is getting everything." Flabbergasted, the son protests: "I was counting on that money to retire." Other ads spoof people betting on the lottery or putting school-age kids to work. Each ad ends with a voice-over that advises, "Don't be caught unprepared . . . because later is sooner than you think."

Comment: In bringing humor to the serious topic of investing, Alliance is taking a risk. But the company felt it needed a different approach, with its own research showing that 87% of consumers are unmoved by traditional financial services ads that show smart savers enjoying cushy retirements. The twists in the ads--such as kicking out Dad--are so unexpected that they command attention. That alone puts these ads a cut above most financial services pitches. Interestingly, the ads don't provide much information about Alliance or its products, suggesting financial services have become commodities. $$$

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