Dear Dirty America


Popular Community Bank Advertising Makes Primal Plea

Popular Community Bank Advertising Makes Primal Plea
September 24
17:29 2013


Despite the popular push by Occupy Wall Street to move our money out of the big mega banks and into better-managed, more honest community banks and credit unions, it seems the idea is still not sexy enough. That’s why Popular Community Bank is jazzing it up, but just a little, by subtly activating our primal urges.

The unsolicited flier I received in the mail offered a $125 cash bonus for anyone who opens a “totally free checking account”, as well as what the advertisement calls the “human side of banking.” On the backside was information on the bank’s commitment to community volunteering, mentoring young people, and securing capital for small businesses.

But I hadn’t asked for the advertisement. It’s possible the bank wanted my feedback, in which case I’m happy to give it.

You will scan Popular Community Bank’s flier from left to right. You’ll first notice, in big white letters that pop off against the pleasant blue background of the sky, the 125 dollars. You’ll probably ignore the two sentences, written in blue and in smaller letters directly beneath that, to let your vision be yanked right, to the money floating in midair. Crisp bills. Benjamin Franklin’s inscrutably pursed lips.

If you don’t like money, or aren’t persuaded that Popular Community Bank isn’t trustworthy and instills in you the positive feeling that crisp US currency does, then you let your eyes glide further right. Here’s the reinforcement of how good money feels.

A grown woman of considerable beauty is in the act of bursting onto the page. She’s being dragged along by a group of four diabolically enthusiastic children who have, probably, been prompted dozens of times by photographs to grin with more severity, but also more sincerity! Don’t be confused by their zeal for the incentives of opening a totally free checking account. Those kids don’t give two shits about community banks. And if they do, they shouldn’t. Not yet.

If there wasn’t a bright blue sky and mild waves coming off the lake or ocean, you might perceive these children and their guardian to be fleeing danger.


Kids suffering extreme torment

“Bare your teeth, kids!” the enthusiastic photographer might have said in order to get a bigger smile. “Run across the beach and grimace like that wild Syrian dictator is chasing you with a chemical weapon in his hands.” Or, “Open your mouths wide and pull back your lips like it’s an involuntary reaction because you’re being relentlessly shocked by electrodes stuck to your head and hands like suspected terrorist children from the Middle East shackled up in a CIA black prison somewhere.”

Whether the group is fleeing or frolicking along the beach, the hand-holding tickles that need for human bonding. Bonding between friends, or between a mother and her children. The familial instinct rears up within the large numbers of people who both respect and have experienced raising a family.

Also reinforcing a positive sensation is the grown woman’s breasts. They are the most prominent focal point on the right side of the flier. The woman’s forehead is cut off by the top of the picture, but her loosely confined breasts are on display behind that thin, light green top. It is not difficult to imagine their shape had she yanked it off and thrown it into the sea.

And, notice, there is no male competition in the picture. She’s all yours. It’s easy, easy, easy. Which is essentially the bank’s message. Hassle-free checking account. No fistfights. No drama.

As if it weren’t implied to be easy enough, barely visible on the woman is a tan line. Presumably in the act of running, her green top’s strap has shifted to the outside edge of her shoulder. There’s been movement of a crucial piece of clothing. This may seem trivial, but to the inner caveman prowling in every man, there is the possibility that in a few more steps, and who knows how many, that strap is going to fall off her shoulder and expose the right side of her chest.

Oh! the children! you might say. Let us hope her top stays on, for the children’s sake at least. But I assure you, this is not about the children.

The breasts, however, are covered thoroughly enough to avoid public outrage. This is not Maxim-styled crudity. It’s safe. It’s family friendly. But it’s meant to be effective. The bank will not suffer any harassment from Christian or feminist groups.

You could never argue that the top is too sexy, yet, subtly, it is not unsexy. And her bared chest is at eye level. Even if you’re not of the slimy ilk who notices such things, your desires will be stirred, at least on an unconscious level, and those desires will have nothing to do with banking. Since you’re not aware of this simple attraction, you’ll link that slightly pleasant agitation to Popular Community Bank. You’ll also confusedly imagine the bank can soothe that itch.

If you sign up for the free checking account, and receive your cash in 60 days after opening it, you will wonder why, for the rest of your life, you haven’t felt that satisfaction you thought you were going to. Sure, your banking experience is fine, but you still feel lonely at times.

Your family is never quite happy enough. You spent that $125 on a plumber unclogging your sewer system after your daughter thought it would be better to wipe down her entire body with cleansing wipes rather than take a shower. When your plumber chides you about not flushing wipes, and you open your mouth to rebut, he’ll also show you the twisted condom he threw to dry on the bathroom floor. “I unearthed that little guy, too,” he’ll say, shaking his head.

When will you get back to the good old days of that Popular Community Bank advertisement? How can you get back to all that latent possibility for a perfect life?

You have yet to catch your wife in such a flattering pose, with mouth wide open, healthy pink tongue laid flat behind two rows of sparkling white teeth as perfect as the plastic models collecting dust in your dentist’s office.

After all of this, even after receiving Popular Community Bank’s junk mail, I have no doubt this is at least a little better than Wells Fargo, which extracts petty service fees from its poorest customers, or Bank of America, which has exposed the American taxpayer to $75 trillion in derivative exposure and threatens to collapse the nation’s economy, as well as handing out gift certificates to Bed Bath & Beyond and Olive Garden to the employees who can complete the most foreclosures on American families, rather than using the taxpayer bailout money to refinance the mortgages and keep families in their homes, further stabilizing an economy rapidly spiraling into irreparable deterioration.

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