Friday, May 11, 2007

Citi: not so pretty.





Well, it had to happen I guess, but seeing the awful reality of it is almost too much to take. Citibank or Citicorp or Citi or whatever it is has junked its “Live Richly” campaign in favor of ….of….

“Let’s get it done.”

The red arch logo has been wrenched from its context as an umbrella (necessary with the divestiture of Travellers is my guess) and turned into a bridge. Because Citi is your bridge from dream to reality. From a sketch on a napkin to an IPO. From, let's see...from Dick Cheney on a carrier deck to Dick Cheney in a perp walk.

The inevitable anthem intro commercial rounds up all the usual suspects: the simple, repetitive Phillip Glass-like score; the hopeful children; the intense entrepreneurs; the retired couple on the dock; the proud college graduate. Citi’s dead-man-walking CEO Charlie Prince wanted to put his own stamp on the company’s image. In this derivative, clueless effort, he has succeeded wildly.

“Live Richly” had its detractors, and for sure a bank talking about money not being everything in life is an easy targets for cynics, but jeez, at least they took a shot. It avoided most financial-advertising clich├ęs, it appealed to people’s better nature, and it set them apart. In a category where 90% of what you can say is regulated by statute, that’s pretty good. When Sandy Weill comes back to rescue Citi from his own anointed successor, I’ll bet anything that “Let’s get it done” will be done as well.

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