So over the years, I’ve written a bunch of blog posts slagging off banks.
The reason I’ve slagged them off is not because I think their ads are crap – though that’s definitely the case with many of them – it’s because they basically are lying.
Millions upon millions of dollars gets “invested” in campaigns saying banks are fully committed to helping small business or they’re focused on customer service but far too often, the average man in the street only ever experiences this through the ad.
Or the brochure.
Or the print ad.
And that’s why I love a little company in the US called Square.
Square – for those of you who don’t know – is a company that has made an attachment and app for the iPhone that allows people to take credit card payments whenever and wherever they are.
Sure, you pay a small premium to use this service, but what Square have done is help small business improve their odds of survival by not just increasing their options of receiving payment … but by guaranteeing their ability to get paid.
No false promises.
No bouncing cheques.
For a very, very low cost of entry, Square has empowered small business to survive and thrive and what have the banks done – banks, let’s not forget, that spend untold millions talking about their commitment to helping small business – well all they’ve done is make a shitload of empty promise ads, a bunch of meaningless brochures and an environment where customer service has become customer disservice with huge fees attached for every little transaction.
But here’s the thing, as much as a bank should have – and could have – come up with the concept of Square, so should one of the banks ad agencies?
Let’s face it, the issues relating to small business and cash flow is hardly something new … so why didn’t an agency come up with the concept of inventing a low cost, portable credit card reader?
For all the talk of ‘solving business problems’, our ‘solutions’ highlight our ‘truth’ … we make ads, we generally only know how to make ads and we generally only like to promote making ads. No wonder we’ve lost our seat at the boardroom table!
Square is a fantastic idea for small business, but more than that, it’s a great kick in the ass for adland because if we’re to get our influence back, we need to use our smarts to create change, not just create ads.
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