Monday, March 30, 2009

Finally! Another overgrown banking conglomerate has come to California!

You can always tell when some dickwad ad agency from New York or elsewhere on the East Coast barrels into Southern California with ads created by people whose knowledge of our community derives from having watched old TV episodes of "Adam-12" or "Shindig!" or "Baywatch".

The ad usually looks or sounds something like the ad that appeared when Sam Ash Music opened its first store here in Los Angeles: "Finally! East Coast Quality At West Coast Prices!" Or the Farmer John spots in which Vin Scully intones "Easternmost in Quality, Westernmost In Flavor!" (As a SoCal resident, have you ever said to yourself, "Gee, I wish we savages out here in the Wild West had the kind of quality products that those discerning, sophisticated folks back east get to enjoy!"?)

How about the old Sprint billboards which made frequent references to callers having ample monthly minutes to use their wireless phones to talk about their boob jobs or to say "Gag me with a spoon!"? Now we get the latest example of the East Coast elitism and stereotyping that proves that Vinnie and Vito and their ilk think we are no more than "a bunch of fruits, nuts and flakes" in the form of advertising from Chase Bank.

Nevermind the radio commercials that bring the exciting news that "Chase has come to California!" as if we are one monolithic place to which they can market, full of desperate, unsophisticated people who haven't seen an overgrown banking conglomerate from back east before. How about the Chase billboard at the southwest corner of Hollywood and Highland that reads "72 and sunny with a 100 percent chance of better banking"? In addition to the Chase logo, the ad features a sillouette of what looks like a Tab Hunter-type model leaning on a surfboard.

That's right dudes, all we care about in Los Angeles is the weather or going surfing. For people who fight their way through freeway traffic for hours, this in no way resembles the Southern California most of us slog through every day. But I imagine the average schmendrick who takes the Long Island Railroad to work at the ad agency every morning and back home fantasizes about "going out there" to "hang out at the beach" with Elvis and Annette Funicello (or whoever they think is swimming in Santa Monica's sewage and sunning themselves in a marine layer that just won't quit most days until after noon). Clearly he thinks this ad campaign is just swell for the people who "don't know good pizza out there" (as they say back east).

Have you noticed this phenomenon?