Foriegn bank commercial has heart but missing other organs!

May 18, 2009

Less is more in advertising

If you thought the now-infamous Red House Furniture commercial was controversial and bizarre (it was) wait until you watch this little ditty from Argentina. It does to boy/girl what Red House did to black/white. I don’t want to play spoiler but this seemingly innocuous bank commercial takes a gender-bending turn that, frankly, is an absolute first in the annals of advertising. Take a look and then let’s come back for discussion.

Aye Carumba! Dude look like a lady! Or is it the other way around? It isn’t necessarily the topic that shocks us… but in a bank commercial? And what’s more remarkable is how perfectly straight (no pun intended) they play it. Produced with utter sincerity, it is identical to a Hallmark card commercial.

The plot is ripe with subtext! Who is Mr. Lopez – brother, former boss, best friend? What did he to the hero(ine) that required making an apology? And what about the gift he gives to her? A porcelain ballerina, it must be symbolic of something, perhaps little girl fantasies finally being realized?

The tagline attempts to make sense of it all: “Your life changes when your bank is disposed to change.” So, let’s see if we got this right. Banco Provincia is advertising its progressive policies with regard to lending by giving a loan to a transvestite. Conceding the bank’s corporate heart is in the right place, why on earth does a person’s sexual orientation or body type matter when providing a loan? As long as clients have collateral what’s the difference? Sure, banks are historically conservative but not to money. On the other hand, if the bank had given him/her a loan in order to have a sex change that would at least represent open-mindedness with regard to lending money. But in this spot the lady opens a hair salon.

I think this commercial is weird. I can’t imagine writing or approving it. Still, you have to give it points for chutzpa. In a macho nation like Argentina, it took “balls” to make a spot like this.

Note: Special thanks to Adpulp for finding this commercial.


4 Responses to “Foriegn bank commercial has heart but missing other organs!”

  1. Jason Fox said

    I saw this spot a few weeks ago. Frankly, I just don’t get it. Usually, I’m a fan of taking a circuitous route to the main message, but I feel this spot never arrives at that point. A curmudgeon decides to be nice to a transsexual woman because his bank was? Huh? Here’s how think the conversation between the CW and AD went down:

    CW: Sweet jeezo, not another hideous bank spot.

    AD: Why can’t we do something, you know, edgy?

    CW: Like a tattoo parlor.

    AD: Or a strip club. Wait, everyone does those.

    CW: You’re right. How about something with lesbians?

    AD: I like it, I like it. Wait. One better: transgenders.

    CW: Awesome. But…

    AD: But what?

    CW: We still have this bank spot to do.

    AD: Crap. Well, let’s stick a transgender person in it.

    CW: You joking? People will flip out.

    AD: Nah. We’ll make everyone in the spot old. Everyone loves old people. And we’ll shoot it in sepia.

    CW. Done.

  2. Van Gould said

    Although funny, I doubt this is how the conversation went down. Having shortly lived in Chicago and Boulder, I can understand why people less exposed to prejudice would wonder why “a person’s sexual orientation or body type matter when providing a loan?” However, I lived most of my life in the bible belt, and I traveled to South America many times when I was in the military. I’m not knocking the South or Latin America, but prejudice does exist, even if only a little, in government and business in some cultures. A majority of people in these places are free thinkers just like us. That makes the target audience for this spot quite large. The spot may seem silly and pointless from our eyes, but from the perspective of people surrounded by even a little bit of bigotry, it’ may be a refreshingly odd spot. Look at the Youtube comments. What do you think?

    • Jason Fox said

      Well, I can agree that I’m not necessarily the target for this spot, nor can I completely grasp the cultural background and mores of the country in which it was produced. But I still think it’s a rather odd way of illustrating the point that the bank is non-judgmental. It wasn’t enough to just make that point, the ad goes further and claims to have changed somebody else’s mind, too. Possible in real life? Sure. All that believable in commercial-length narrative? Not so much. At least not for me.

  3. SRP said

    Good points, fellas. (Assuming you’re still fellas.) But why didn’t the bank lend him the money to become a her? Wouldn’t that have been more tidy a drama? And who is the old man and why is he apologizing? (his wife in the car makes it even more puzzling)

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