Ally Irritates Kids (and Bankers) with More Spots

Ally Bank has added two more TV spots to its wildly popular ad campaign that subjects unsuspecting kids to the evil whims of a fictional-yet-no-less-diabolical market researcher. The latest spots add a bit of a twist, where the smarmy corporate jerk steals the scenes instead of the unscripted reactions of children who feel cheated.

The Ally’s campaign, which mocks the tricks, policies and asterisks of rival bankers, has been running since May 2009 when the bank rose from the ashes of GMAC Financial.

In the first of two additional spots, the evil market researcher taunts a little girl with a miniature replica of himself. He tugs the doll’s string, triggering an “interactive voice response” system (a.k.a. IVR to bankers or “phone tree from hell” to consumers).

“Say 1 for broccoli. Say 2 for toys,” the mini-market research doll says.

The little girl, quite naturally, says “toys” instead of “two” as the doll demands.

“The system can’t process your response at this time,” the doll responds. “Please call back between 8 and 5 Central Standard Time… Goodbye.”

In the second spot, a boy collects chocolate, foil-wrapped eggs hidden around the room. The dirty, rotten, sneaky researcher tries to steal and eat each egg as the boy puts them in the basket.

“You took my eggs,” the boy accuses.

“Egg management fee,” the jerk mumbles through a mouth filled with chocolate eggs.

“The nice thing about kids is they’re honest. They tell it like it is.”
— Sanjay Gupta, CMO/Ally

Reality Check: Even if it irks you that Ally Bank isn’t entirely forthright about its bailout resurrection, you have to admit Ally’s ads really strike a chord with consumers. Secretly, you’re probably irritated that your bank or credit union didn’t take this approach.

MyBankTracker.com reports that Ally Bank was awarded the top position as the best online bank website. Data also indicates that 86.5% of Ally customers are “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied,” which aligns with MyBankTracker.com’s own data showing customers give the bank a 4.5 star rating.

People love Ally Bank ads, bankers hate them

“You didn’t say I could have a real one.”
“Well you didn’t ask.”

“But it’s a piece of junk…I want the red truck!”

These punchlines to popular Ally Bank commercials are like fingernails on a chalkboard for some bankers.

“It’s irritating for the community banking industry to see someone who has failed in their business dealings now turning around and saying they are so smart,” Paul Merski, chief economist at the Independent Community Bankers of America, told Bloomberg.

“The hypocrisy of Ally Bank’s ad campaign is dramatic given the company’s true history and the exceptional governmental assistance given to its parent company,” added Christopher Nunn, CFO/Security Bancorp of Tennessee.

After enduring hours of Ally ads while holed up during Snowmaggedon, Kevin Lynch, a 20-year banking veteran, had finally had enough. He turned to his blog for catharsis. “I felt it was time to get something off my chest,” he said. “I am really put off by Ally Bank commercials.”

“For those of us out here in the ‘real world’ of financial services, who didn’t get TARP funds, don’t have the luxury of a new start, and struggle with a myriad of confusing regulations, give us a break,” Lynch wrote on his blog. “We really are trying to do the right things for our customers.”

Bankers may have a bone to pick (perhaps even a big- and even legitimate bone), but that means nothing to consumers who can’t seem to get enough of Ally’s campaign.

Take a look at this sampling of comments on Ally TV commercials uploaded to The Financial Brand’s YouTube account:

  • “These ads are really clever. Nice work by Ally.” — alexbulluk
  • “This series of ads are masterpiece!! They create a buzz, and that’s what it’s all about.” — joe1977poland
  • “I can’t make up my mind which I like better.” — tunenut122
  • “I love these commercials…the kids, their faces and the jerk.” — leashlee
  • “I run to the TV set every time these commercials play.” — charrua007
  • “This commercial never gets old.” — Ac3bo0gie914

The praise keeps pouring in. “Pure gold.” “Precious.” “Priceless.”

“The shifty executive on the Ally Bank commercials is awesome,” wrote Robert Coffman on Twitter. “Whoever thought him up has struck advertising gold.”

Ally’s previous four TV spots have been viewed nearly one million times on YouTube. It’s quite an impressive accomplishment when you remember that people don’t often hop online specifically to watch TV commercials.

  • Truck – 359,421 views
  • Pony – 329,283 views
  • Bike – 156,445 views
  • Hide – 81,762 views

The Ally Bank ads are the work of Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s New York office.

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