The eagle continues to soar, lowly.

A few months ago I wrote about Metropolitan Bank’s advertising blitz on the heels and in the midst of heavy quarterly losses. I labeled the bank’s efforts “Advertising over Bad PR”. Can it work? Is it a smart strategy? At the time, I was willing to take a wait and see approach. I thought maybe with enough money the bank could bury the bad PR under an endless flight of ads. Today, my mind has closed completely on this strategy. I firmly believe this heavy ad spending is a total waste of the client’s budget. The only winners from the bank’s nervous strategy are the bank’s ad agency and all the media vendors. The revenue is rolling in for them while the negative headlines keep popping up for Metropolitan. What’s really ironic is these negative stories stating “millions of dollars are being lost” are being printed in the same publications that are running the full page “we are strong and proud” ads. For me, something is not right about that; a true example of bad advertising. The opportunity lost here is what might have been done if all the ad spending so far (which has to be hundreds of thousands of dollars) would have been put into a smart, aggressive PR plan to take on the bad press directly. I think we would have seen some significant results for the bank. Instead, the eagle ads continue to clutter our mediums. And, from what I’ve heard from others, they have not changed perceptions. Most people I’ve talked to still think the bank is in trouble, and a few have gone as far as saying it  may not make it through next year. I personally have no idea what the bank’s overall financial condition is. And I do hope that this Arkansas-based business gets through this and enjoys continued success. But what I do know, for certain, is that negative PR can not be easily buried by advertising. Even if you have lots of ads to throw on the pile and all your ads have eagles in them.

8 Comments

  1. Jeffry Pilcher

    Shawn, you are right to question the value of ads when negative PR is overshadowing the brand. The brand loses whatever slim thread of credibility consumers begrudgingly extend to advertisers.

    You may find this article, “More proof that PR overpowers financial ads,” that I wrote back in March relevant:
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/2009/03/20/more-proof-of-the-power-of-pr/

  2. Jeffry Pilcher

    Shawn, you are right to question the value of ads when negative PR is overshadowing the brand. The brand loses whatever slim thread of credibility consumers begrudgingly extend to advertisers.

    You may find this article, “More proof that PR overpowers financial ads,” that I wrote back in March relevant:
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/2009/03/20/more-proof-of-the-power-of-pr/

  3. Jeffry Pilcher

    Shawn, you are right to question the value of ads when negative PR is overshadowing the brand. The brand loses whatever slim thread of credibility consumers begrudgingly extend to advertisers.

    You may find this article, “More proof that PR overpowers financial ads,” that I wrote back in March relevant:
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/2009/03/20/more-proof-of-the-power-of-pr/

  4. Jeffry Pilcher

    Shawn, you are right to question the value of ads when negative PR is overshadowing the brand. The brand loses whatever slim thread of credibility consumers begrudgingly extend to advertisers.

    You may find this article, “More proof that PR overpowers financial ads,” that I wrote back in March relevant:
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/2009/03/20/more-proof-of-the-power-of-pr/

  5. Shawn, thank you for continuing to cover this case. When you first blogged about this (http://www.exitideas.com/blog/testing-the-power-of-the-eagle), I thought, “Well, let’s see if people fall for it,” because it’s always possible that this bank’s target audience is the older generations who tend to believe advertising more than the younger ones do. I’m not following the revenues for the bank, but I feel as you do that this is as wrong-headed an approach as you can get. In fact, I disagree that they need PR; what they need is a profitable business model and some wins. THEN they can tell stakeholders about it through PR, rooftops, their blog, whatever. Keep up the great coverage, EXIT!

  6. Shawn, thank you for continuing to cover this case. When you first blogged about this (http://www.exitideas.com/blog/testing-the-power-of-the-eagle), I thought, “Well, let’s see if people fall for it,” because it’s always possible that this bank’s target audience is the older generations who tend to believe advertising more than the younger ones do. I’m not following the revenues for the bank, but I feel as you do that this is as wrong-headed an approach as you can get. In fact, I disagree that they need PR; what they need is a profitable business model and some wins. THEN they can tell stakeholders about it through PR, rooftops, their blog, whatever. Keep up the great coverage, EXIT!

  7. Shawn, thank you for continuing to cover this case. When you first blogged about this (http://www.exitideas.com/blog/testing-the-power-of-the-eagle), I thought, “Well, let’s see if people fall for it,” because it’s always possible that this bank’s target audience is the older generations who tend to believe advertising more than the younger ones do. I’m not following the revenues for the bank, but I feel as you do that this is as wrong-headed an approach as you can get. In fact, I disagree that they need PR; what they need is a profitable business model and some wins. THEN they can tell stakeholders about it through PR, rooftops, their blog, whatever. Keep up the great coverage, EXIT!

  8. Shawn, thank you for continuing to cover this case. When you first blogged about this (http://www.exitideas.com/blog/testing-the-power-of-the-eagle), I thought, “Well, let’s see if people fall for it,” because it’s always possible that this bank’s target audience is the older generations who tend to believe advertising more than the younger ones do. I’m not following the revenues for the bank, but I feel as you do that this is as wrong-headed an approach as you can get. In fact, I disagree that they need PR; what they need is a profitable business model and some wins. THEN they can tell stakeholders about it through PR, rooftops, their blog, whatever. Keep up the great coverage, EXIT!

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