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US Consumers Hunker Down as CEOs Stay Optimistic

Posted by Dale Buss on March 29, 2011 04:00 PM

After a relatively rosy first couple of months of the year, US economic reports are more mixed in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the resulting disruption in manufacturing and supply networks, as well as with rising oil prices amid war in the Middle East.

While domestic auto sales appear to have continued their recovery in March, for instance, American consumer confidence has dipped again lately. New Conference Board data shows that consumer confidence dipped 8.6% in March, "pulled down by gloomy expectations about the economy and labor markets." 

Even so, with calamity and strife causing global jitters from Japan to Libya and everywhere in between, IHS Global Insight has been telling its clients worried about the US economy: "Relax."Continue reading...

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Study: Financial Brands Overlook "Unsuspecting" Millennials

Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 17, 2010 10:00 AM

Not surprisingly, trust in financial institutions has nose-dived since the recent worldwide financial meltdown. 

Research firm Mintel Comperemedia says less than one-third (only 28%) of respondents in a new study say they trust the financial services industry and the company suggests that "much of the trust that many brands enjoyed over decades has eroded and that will have to be re-earned." 

An added challenge for such institutions is the fact that there are simply too many investment choices; consumers "are afraid to make a bad decision and choose the wrong product."

What's a bank, investment firm or insurance company to do?Continue reading...

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Citi Reinvents the Credit Card

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 28, 2010 10:00 AM

The rest of the world is abandoning the black magnetic strip on the back of credit cards, moving instead to embedded chips. While new U.S. passports and some state licenses use such technology, U.S. credit card companies have not made any significant advances beyond the use of the strip in recent years. But that's all about to change.

Next month Citibank will begin testing a new 2G credit card, which incorporates an embedded chip and a battery, along with two buttons and lights. The buttons let cardholders choose whether to pay for a purchase with credit or "thank you points" (rewards), according to the New York Times.

Citi plans to offer the new card to existing account holders of two rewards accounts.Continue reading...

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Citi Supports Fair Lending in the U.K.

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 21, 2010 11:00 AM

Citi's commitment to boosting communities in need includes bringing microfinance lending to communities in need — even in developed countries.

It's been working with grassroots organizations including Fair Finance, a London-based social enterprise founded by Faisel Rahman, a former World Bank staffer. The goal of the partnership: support fair lending and financial services for local entrepreneurs and struggling individuals in the underserved community of East London.Continue reading...

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Raymond James Pitches "Tales of Financial Pragmatism"

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 20, 2010 10:00 AM

It's a fanciful scenario, to be sure: Emily Skinner, a "fastidious librarian," lives to the improbable age of 187, enjoying life to the fullest every step of the way because she had the money she needed to do so — thanks to the prudent investment strategies of U.S. financial advisory brand Raymond James.

This is the first in a series of "Tales of Financial Pragmatism," a new ad campaign that the firm hopes will differentiate its financial services in a marketplace in which consumers are still reeling from economic shock. The message is carefully constructed to appeal to prospective clients who have taken a much more conservative approach to investing their funds.

Mike Gray, president of ad agency Martin/Williams who developed the campaign, thinks the timing is just right.Continue reading...

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ING Direct Adopts New U.S. Slogan

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 1, 2010 10:00 AM

ING Direct may have just replaced cheeky Scots comedian Billy Connolly in its Australian marketing, but in the US it's attempting to go for the funny bone with slightly tongue in cheek spots.

This week unveiled a new campaign and slogan in the US, with a new catchphrase — "Touch the Ball" — replacing "The Road to Happiness," which featured a spokesperson in an orange 1962 Chevy Impala saving people from bad financial situations.

In the spot above, a job applicant's cellphone emits an embarassing toilet flush sound as an alert for a checking fee. Another spot features a family in slow motion, representing the glacial rate at which they're paying off their mortgage.Continue reading...

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TD Ameritrade Pitches the Invested Life

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 29, 2010 10:00 AM

Financial services brand TD Ameritrade is investing in original Web programming with The Invested Life, which it's billing as a "financial reality series" (Tagline: "Live to invest. Invest to live. Learn how one triumph at a time") for MSN that's also available on a standalone YouTube channel.

“We do plenty of advertising on TV, and our executives appear on CNBC to talk about the market,” said Peter Sidebottom, the brand's EVP for product and marketing, to the New York Times. “This is an additional way for people to engage, and puts it in a context that makes it more accessible to more people.”.Continue reading...

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AmEx Stays Current with Twenty-Somethings

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 27, 2010 10:33 AM

American Express has launched a digital platform for the generation that grew up thinking money grows in ATMs.

Currency hopes to help young people be smarter about their finances, with tools including an iPhone app called Social Currency, which is linked to Foursquare so users can upload pictures of purchases and share text, comments and captions at check-in locations. Users can earn points and unlock badges to share information on good deals.

Developed in partnership with blog network Federated Media, Currency offers advice and tips on a broad range of topics facing college graduates and other 20-somethings: career advice, juggling roommate expenses, hidden costs of living alone, paying off a student loan, planning for the future, starting a family.Continue reading...

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