Dubious marketing by JP Morgan?

This is my first emotionally-charged blog.

Earlier this year I was in London visiting a client. I had to travel from my home into London, traverse the Underground between Marylebone and Westminster, conduct the long meeting and return home. It added up to a long day and a late night. On the Tube, I sat opposite an advert for JP Morgan Asset Management’s ISA bank account for busy people. The headline plunged me into a swirl of indignation on behalf of people who have to make such journeys every day.

“You invest in missed bedtimes. Choose an ISA provider that could make the long hours count.”

What struck me as outrageous about this marketing campaign is that it targets people who are locked in to working long hours within the unforgiving City Machine. The pace of London life is so frenetic that ordinary office hours are simply a small part of the longer working day; and most City Professionals feel the heat of the juniors racing to catch them. If they slacken off, leave early or take time for family, they fall behind the pace of their peers and are deemed to be coasting.

Getting home before bedtime just isn’t possible.

And I bet it breaks their hearts.

This particular advert was one of four which JP Morgan outsourced to creative production agency Loveurope. The agency said, “the campaign conveys [JP Morgan’s] understanding of how people work hard now and make sacrifices, for a long-term investment in the future.”

No. I do not usually like to be provocative in this blog, but no. I severely doubt that JP Morgan is trying to solve the problems of working parents. Instead, the advert suggests JP Morgan is willing to hit people in the heart with a message that hurts and then present a solution which is as unconvincing as it is callous: ‘don’t worry about missing out on your child growing up – we’ll help you buy back your child’s lost affection with money in years to come.’

As a father of a young son, I am proud that I can count on my fingers the number of his bedtimes that I’ve missed. I am insulted on behalf of working fathers and mothers that this ad, from a multi-national banking corporation who should know better, would aim directly to strike at a parent’s most delicate nerve.

Am I over-reacting to an advert not meant for me? Please leave a comment in the section below:

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About Rob Chidley

Professional copywriter, trad-published author and improvisational gardener.
This entry was posted in Copywriting, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Dubious marketing by JP Morgan?

  1. Jules Dubuisson says:

    I would say that you’re reacting on behalf of those who don’t have time to. Good for you!
    Jules Dubuisson

  2. Mel Menzies says:

    No, I don’t think for one moment that you’re over-reacting, Rob. We’ve created a society in which children are robbed of their childhood in more ways than one. With both parents often having to work long hours they’re missing out on leisurely bedtime stories and time with mum and dad. But the idea that a parent can “buy back” their “lost affection” is outrageous. More than that, it’s downright dangerous. What is the society of the future going to be if the children we’re raising are brought up in the belief that money can buy affection?

  3. I agree that this is a subtle yet heartless way of wrenching money out of our pockets; it reinforces a negative result of our culture, but the lesson is that connecting emotionally really works. Speaking or writing to people in a way that raises their emotional involvement is a key to engaging them in our preaching or our articles or books. This is a horse that we need to harness and ride for all its worth…

  4. Martin says:

    That is not an over reaction. The ad is symptomatic of the greed and callousness in the city.

  5. Phil Groom says:

    Well said Rob; and what makes the ad all the more laughable is the contrary message: “Invest with us, we’ll make sure your investment counts, Oh, and the value of your investment is as likely to fall as it is to rise: we’re the same as the rest of them really.” Presumably the “P” in J P Morgan stands for “Taking the…”

  6. scskillman says:

    You are not over-reacting. I agree with you totally. What you have observed is the central message that Rob Parsons (of Care For the Family) gives out in his books on parenting and family life and particularly the role of fathers. The message he gives us is a stark one: no amount of money will ever buy back the lost affection of children whose father missed out on their growing up. Rob Parsons gives the highest value to a father spending ordinary time with a child – and the lowest possible value to expensive holidays. The more people realise this in our greed-obsessed materialistic society the better.

  7. Gareth says:

    Well, yuck. What a horrible advert! Personally, I don’t choose investors who make me feel terrible if I miss my child’s bedtime (not that I do). What a cheap shot.

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  10. Helen Murray says:

    A cheap shot indeed. My husband works away from home Monday to Friday and it does indeed break his heart to miss bedtime four nights a week. This is a cynical advert and I share your disgust. Well said.

  11. Chris Lambert says:

    Well put, Rob. To propose that missing some of the most intimate parts of family life on a regular basis could possibly be an acceptable trade in the pursuit of personal wealth, just goes to show what depths we are plumbing as a society.

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