Foolish New Slogans for Bad Old Banks

The Motley Fool is celebrating the Banksgiving season with this tongue-in-cheek series skewering the worst banking offenses. Check it all out by clicking here.

Last year, Time magazine put a nice bit of tongue-in-cheek punctuation on an awful year in the banking world by releasing a list of the top 10 banking slogans.

In honor of The Motley Fool's Banksgiving Day holiday, I thought I'd gather up some of my own favorite banking slogans and offer the respective banks' marketing teams some helpful ideas for changes that better capture the brave new world of finance.

6. Capital One (NYSE: COF  ) : "What's in your wallet?"
This slogan conveyed safety and security, assuring customers that they could feel good about having a Capital One credit card in their hip pocket. Of course, with the credit card industry in tatters, getting approved for a credit card at all these days is much more important than having a "safe" one.

My new suggestion: "What's in your wallet? Nothing? Great! Get a Capital One card."

5. AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) : "We know money."
I'll wait for you to finish laughing. Obviously this slogan has seen better days. After gargantuan losses and a massive taxpayer bailout, I think it's high time for AIG to think about switching up its tagline. As with the others, we need to focus on the positive here. With AIG, it's the fact that the company has wrangled more money from the federal government than anyone else -- including the bedraggled Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM  ) and Freddie Mac.

My new suggestion: "We know Uncle Sam."

4. Citibank (NYSE: C  ) ; "Citi never sleeps."
The word play with "Citi" was great in this advertising slogan, but considering that the whole company seemed to be asleep at the switch during the financial crisis, it's high time that Citi ditched this line. Instead, I think Citi needs to be crowing about one of its primary advantages -- the whopping chunk of the company now owned by U.S. taxpayers.

My new suggestion: "You already own us. Why not bank with us?"

3. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) : "Our client's interest always comes first."
What a fantastic slogan -- it really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it appears that pre-crisis Goldman sold products such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) -- which were backed by stuff like subprime mortgages -- to its clients, even as its in-house trading department shorted the bejeezus out of the mortgage market. I don't think we need to completely axe Goldman's slogan, though. We may just need to amend it a bit.

My new suggestion: "Our client's interest always comes first. Unless we can make a massive amount of money by betting against him."

2. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) : "Bank of opportunity."
This was a great slogan for B of A. The company was shrewd to switch from its former slogan, "Higher Standards." B of A's management team obviously decided to ditch that act when it jammed through the Merrill Lynch acquisition.

What could be next for B of A's marketing push? I think the bank needs to emphasize its dogged determination in dealing with the bad loans that it made for years before the financial meltdown, and its dedication to more conservative lending standards in the future.

My new suggestion: "Bank of Amerrilwide: If you don't pay us, we will hunt you down. Seriously."

1. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) : "Chase what matters."
A few years ago, when flipping houses was the rage and the stock market was sitting pretty, JPMorgan could get away with this slogan. To many people, a new iPod, the right sofa for your new home, and a Rolex watch to show everyone just how well you were doing did seem like the things that mattered.

With the U.S. economy in shambles today, I think the company risks having people think too much about this slogan, and thus focusing on the things that really do matter -- quality time with friends and family, good health, taking the time to admire a sunrise, etc. You can't purchase any of those things, and that spells marketing suicide for JPMorgan.

My new suggestion: "Chase a fancy dining set, a big-screen TV, and a new wardrobe for every season!"

Ready for seconds? Check out the rest of our Banksgiving content by clicking here!

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns Bank of America, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool’s disclosure policy has never once been caught with its pants down. Of course, it doesn't actually wear pants …


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  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2009, at 12:31 AM, billybob220 wrote:

    The new slogans are funny, but when will the people in charge of these banks be held responsible for the economic downfall they helped if not caused be held accountable for their actions

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