Ally Bank

Ad Review – Ally Bank “Stop Accepting”

Company:  Ally Bank

Campaign: “Stop Accepting”

Campaign Theme in Haiku Format:

Accept repeating
Over and over again.
Too much?  Accept it.



Repetition is a good way to make a point.  You may not know this, but repetition is an excellent way to make a point.  Seriously, did you know that repetition is a great way to make your point?  With that in mind, this ad does an excellent job of making it’s point (and in a much less annoying way than I just did):  you can either accept being a whipping boy/revenue source for your bank, or you can revolt against The Man and switch to Ally Bank.

When I come across an ad that uses repetition to beat it’s point into my skull, I typically count the number of times they repeat the company name/key word/phrase/tagline.  In a 30 second spot, 5-6 repetitions is a lot.  With this 60 second ad?  By my rough count, I get 14 – and that is not including the nearly 10 seconds of having “accept it” looping continuously in the background, which probably pushes the count well over 30.  In addition, the ATM screen with “Accept” and “Don’t Accept” shows another 10 times.  Mission accomplished on driving your point home.

I really enjoy Ally Bank’s campaign, as they use great visual examples to make their key point:  we put up with a lot of crap, abuse, and ethically questionable behavior from our banks.  A couple of other favorites:  the little girl who must pay a fee to ride her bike outside of a tiny square and another new spot where they ask complete strangers to watch $100,000.  They do an excellent job of pointing out how you and I are likely being screwed by our banks.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is most people would rather get a root canal than switch banks – regardless of how abused and service charged they are.  In 2010, less than 8% of consumers reported that they switched banks.  While fees were the second most common motivating factor (17% of respondents) it was far behind the primary reason for changing banks:  life circumstances such as a move or a divorce.

In short, as long as you and I are staying in the same town, we’re likely staying with the same bank.  But I completely get Ally’s motives.  You probably aren’t going to switch, but these ads do a good job of putting awareness and a sliver of doubt in your mind about your banking relationship.

I do have one complaint about this ad:  ultimately, the guy “accepts it”, takes out the cash, and goes on with his life.  There are only three conclusions one can draw from this:

  1. As noted above, people will pay to not be inconvenienced, which is not the message Ally is hoping to send.
  2. People should give into peer pressure, especially if they are directed to do something 30+ times.  What a great message for the kids!
  3. A $3 ATM fee is a small price to pay to keep your wife happy.

Besides – assuming the guy has a debit card, there is almost zero need to ever pay an ATM fee – regardless of your bank.  Just go to your neighborhood grocery store, pharmacy, big box, etc. and buy a pack of gum/candy bar/soda.  Pay with your debit card and get $20 back in cash.  Instead of paying a $3 ATM fee, you have only paid $1, and you have a pack of gum to show for it.

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