You may see some ironic ads by flicking on CNBC. Financial companies have spent decades advertising their stability and trustworthiness, but these days such claims seem ridiculous, writes Paul Farhi of the Washington Post. As recently as Monday, AIG was running ads with the slogan “The Strength to Be There,” while Merrill Lynch’s latest commercials promised to weather the economic storm.
Even for solvent firms, this kind of advertising is poorly timed, says one advertising executive. Consumers are well aware that the economy is in crisis, and firms need to level with them. “Give them the facts about what’s going on. They’re lost,” said the executive. “This is about education. It’s not about tag lines and pretty pictures.”