Thanks a Lot, Thanks for Nothing

NYers' ire is focus of bank's ad campaign

By David Hogarty
|  Friday, Nov 14, 2008  |  Updated 7:42 AM EDT
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Bank of America Transit Rebate Ads

David Hogarty

Bank of America knows you hate banks and the MTA and nearly everything these days.

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The Wall St. bailout, record unemployment, cratering financial markets, looming MTA fare hikes, increased city taxation, cuts to city services. New Yorkers have little to be optimistic about these days, and the Bank of America seems to be catering to that foul mood.

An odd ad campaign has popped up--particularly around public transit--that seems to belittle a new offer from the Bank of America to pay $10 for every $100 that customers use bank cards for to pay for public transit. Instead of gratitude, however, the message of BoA's campaign seems to play to the idea that customers might take those ten bucks and think "I'd like to buy a toaster with this and hit you in the face with it."

Many of the adds that are focused on public transit seem to rely on the assumption that the MTA, DOT, and transportation around NYC are just terrible to begin with, and a $10 rebate is a paltry reward for doing business with the bank. "Ten bucks for every hundred I spend on transit? Great. How about finding a cabbie who doesn't mind going to Brooklyn?"

"Ten bucks for every hundred I spend on transit? Great. How about a solution for gridlock?"

Bank of America seems to be tapping into the natural impulse of New Yorkers to complain, bitch, moan, and view almost everything--from potholes to upstairs neighbors--in the worst possible light. It's an interesting gambit. We don't like it!

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