Truth (hurts) in Advertising

On my way into work I pass many billboards. Most are extremely annoying in one way or another. Too flashy, too wordy, doesn’t make sense no matter how many times I see it, etc. But some, downright fail.

Take this from US Bank’s new Mobile Campaign Billboard.

(I couldn’t find the actual ad online, so I made one that is similar in phrasing and look, give or take some additional mobile info.)

Does this strike anyone one as odd? I mean, sure it’s funny to think a man is afraid of his wife and how he forgot to transfer money like she probably asked him to do hundreds of times. But do we have to constantly put down our husbands in public like this? Do we have to continually play this power-game in marriages? Who wears the pants? Is that even a question to ask in this modern society?

Ok, what if US Bank flipped the roles?

Whoa! The message is completely different in tone and feeling. Do you think maybe she’s a victim of spousal abuse? In your mind, what would happen if he found out she forgot? Who really knows. She probably cooked dinner and most likely forgot to transfer money. But the thought behind it would offend most.

But it’s not the same, “HA HA Husbands are dopey” message.

I think if you’re pushing for people to use your new mobile app, don’t make them feel shitty and worthless and remind them how terrible their marriage may be. I can read between the lines – you went for “ease of use” but at the expense of belittling people’s relationships. We don’t need to be reminded of the struggles marriages may have on a billboard ad. Just tell me how easy it is and be done with it.

Have you seen billboards around town that are just epic fails?

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