Make Banking Sexy

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen a near obsession among bank (and to a lesser extent credit union) execs to borrow from the retailer playbook (i.e., Starbucks), and turn their branches into places where consumers can hang out, sit in comfy chairs, drink coffee, and get Wi-Fi access on their computers.

I’m not sure if I really need to tell you this or not, but it hasn’t worked. In trying to understand why, I figured out what’s missing: Sex.

Carl’s Jr. is set to launch a series of ads featuring Kim Kardashian, who I’m told is a rather sexy reality TV star.  Apparently the ads are somewhat on the erotic side. This isn’t the first time that Carl Jr. has used sex to sell his food. A few years ago, I remember seeing hearing about Paris Hilton slithering around in a Carl Jr.’s ad wearing very little.

According to a creative director at the ad agency that did the new spots, “guys love Kim and women really like her because she’s a real woman with curves.” Carl Jr.’s logic must be that running sexy ads will make people think one of three things:

  • If I eat Carl Jr.’s food I’ll be sexy like Kim.
  • If I eat Carl Jr.’s food I’ll get someone sexy like Kim.
  • If I eat Carl Jr.’s food I’ll see someone sexy like Kim at the restaurant.

So, my banker friends, if you’re going to pursue this “we want a great retail-like experience at the branch”, you’re going to have start running sexy ads.

Here’s what I was thinking: How about an ad with Giselle Whats-her-last-name (Brady?) pulling a checkbook out of her push-up bra?

Oh wait, that wouldn’t work because no one has checkbooks any more.

Ok, then, how about Rikki and Vikki from A Double Shot at Love with the Ikki Twins transferring balances from their savings account to checking account on their iPhones while wearing sexy lingerie? (I had to Google “reality TV stars” to come up with this, you know).

Hold on, this isn’t going to work either. It’s women who manage the finances in the majority of the households in this country, so maybe what banks need are ads with hot studly-looking guys. But that logic is faulty, too, since the ad agency dude implied that as long as the woman used in the ad is a “real woman with curves” that that would appeal to women as well as to men.

I guess I should leave the creative part to the “experts” in the advertising business. Clearly, they know what they’re doing here. But what I do know is that it’s time banks made banking sexy.

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