Advertising With TARP Funds Is Tricky Business

The public increasingly is taking a hard look at how TARP funds are spent
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Feb 9, 2009 8:00 AM CST
A Bank of America branch office is shown Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Companies that received TARP funds are being forced to deal with some unexpected fallout: the ire of taxpayers who see sponsorships and ad campaigns as frivolous wastes of rescue dollars, reports Advertising Age. But execs at those companies say that to pay back those borrowed monies, they must develop new business—by advertising.

Bank of America, for example, was the subject of a scathing report for its sponsorship of a 5-day Super Bowl event. But the bank says that promotion generated 14,000 applications for new accounts. In order to justify such spending, say some, companies need to make their ads seem effective—to the very people watching them. One PR exec says corporate transparency is the way to go: It's "the new environmental movement."