Call centers at New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. were flooded with angry calls this week following the company’s launch of their first advertising campaign in the newly-acquired Seattle market.
After purchasing Seattle-based Washington Mutual’s retail banking for under $2 billion last month, the new owners have been busy firing executives and planning branch closures. Earlier this week they also began a new Northwest-based marketing campaign, but their efforts have not been well received.
Former WaMu customers were livid at the slogan used in the ads: “We’re Like You, But Much Richer™.” The television spots feature dozens of caricatures of Northwesterners such as “Logger,” “Grunge Band Guitarist,” and “Radio Psychologist.”
To get a feel for the specific aspects of the ads that rubbed locals the wrong way, we headed to a local dog park, where we caught up with Madison Parker.
“The stereotypes in JPMorgan’s new ads are absurdly outdated, off-base, and frankly, quite offensive,” said Parker, as she leaned on her Prius enjoying a soy latte. “Clearly the New Yorkers that now run this bank simply don’t ‘get’ us.”
Other area residents we spoke with expressed similar sentiments. We caught up with Bellevue software engineer Harrison Bentley just outside the Redmond Town Center Apple Store.
“We can’t be stereotyped,” said Bentley, who was unfortunately preoccupied checking stocks on his iPhone, and declined a request to expand on his thoughts.
In response to the criticisms, JPMorgan officials announced that they would be “reimagining” their marketing approach in the northwest market.
“We were definitely disappointed with the reception of our new ads,” said JPMorgan marketing executive Bob Whittaker. “But we’re really excited about our new plan to bring on Alex Rodriguez as the face of JPMorgan Chase WaMu.”
“He played in Seattle,” explained Whittaker, “and we understand he’s a pretty popular guy out there, so we’re optimistic that the new ads should go over better.”