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.