Every now and then we get asked to prepare an advertising campaign for a bank and generally the marketing problem is the same; 'people think we're money-grubbing pricks'.
Now partly this is a perception issue; banks do perform an essential function in society and do a lot of good. But the rest of the time, they have a tendency to behave like, well, money-grubbing pricks.
It's something they don't like to hear.
Take yesterday's interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank. To manage the ravages of the global financial crisis, in a climate of crumbling industry and lost jobs, the governers of the nation's monetary policy decide to reduce interest rates by 0.25%.
The aim of this policy was to reduce the financial pressure on households and get them spending again, to speed the economic recovery.
This event was widely reported, and the nation's families were eagerly anticipating the cut.
And the reponse of the banks? To keep most if not all of the cut as profit. Westpac, ANZ and CBA passed on just 0.1% of the cut while NAB passed on nothing at all.
The RBA fired it's best shot in the locker, only to see it almost entirely absorbed into the bottom lines of the Big Four banks, who've taken advantage of the GFC by buying up smaller lending institutions and consolidating their oligopoly on home mortgages.
The recession, and the near-perfect exchange of information enabled by the internet, has made this high-handed behaviour unacceptable to the modern consumer. As the article in the Economist says, it's compassion that people are looking for in brands now, not vaucous statements.
If you're going to behave this way, why bother running ads like the one below? You're treating your customers as less than stupid. And in the end, your bank's brand will be the one to pay.