I have always been fascinated by the unwanted consequences of an advertising slogan, and by the lack of perspective of (some) communication campaigns.
This time, what grabbed my attention was a claim published on Intesa Sanpaolo website, whose small-prints read:
Until July 2, in Rome, Milan and Turin, the experience of living with no cash.
Almost automatically a reaction snapped out in my – and I assume not only mine – mind: looking at how economy is currently performing, a lot of people don’t need a bank to “feel” how does it is to live with no cash.
This simple consideration – a pun, actually – sinks down the copywriter’s attempt to spin the optimistic view of the world, that incites people to live… sorry spend money without (immediate) worries.
How could Intesa Sanpaolo CEO handles himself if, for instance during a TV debate where he talks about this ad campaign, somebody throws at him a line like the one I’ve figured out?
Yes, he might explain that the message is not meant to offend people that have hard time in carry out their daily life, that the message, on the contrary, is an hymn to the joie-de-vivre and so on. But as always happens with short, neat and powerful hits, when you start dodging the blow with complicated explanation, the damage is already there.
Of course this scenario is not going to happens for the probability that somebody might notice, understand and speculate on this minor issue is actually close to none. But as once a great advertising man told me about the importance of covering all bases:
nobody is going to notice a small mistake, but the one who will exploit it against you.