This odd Citibank commercial irks me ...

There’s this commercial that’s been running lately for Citibank. Two businessmen are sitting in a cafe talking about sales and bonuses as their waitress pours them some coffee. She then looks into the parking lot and sees some skateboard hooligans, one of whom is boorishly leaning up against her classic Mercedes SL convertible. She goes to the door and understandably raises her voice: “Hey! Get off my car.” The kids leave, she goes back in and asks the guys if they need anything else, they say no, and she goes on about her business as if nothing happened. The two guys stare outside at the car, as if they hadn’t noticed it before. The car is nothing special, just a nice 50’s era Mercedes, but they don’t say anything, they just stare. The narrator then says “Get free one-on-one financial guidance at every Citibank branch, personalized to help you meet your dreams.”

I wouldn’t want anyone leaning up on my classic car either (if I had one), but it took me awhile to figure out the point. At first, I thought this woman was absconding with “free financial guidance” from these two guys coming in every day to talk about their corporate sales figures, but they weren’t financial advisors, so that couldn’t be it. An old Mercedes isn’t that expensive either, so if she was supposed to be some kind of financial guru on a waitress salary who was getting free advice by overhearing it from patrons, it would have been more profound if she had a brand new Mercedes parked out there, rather than an old one which can be quite affordable. Maybe they were just trying to imply that even on her salary, she had a rare classic car due to her smart budgeting and talking to her “Citibank financial advisor”, and these two Wall Street type guys talking about big important business stuff didn’t even notice her until they realized the nice old car was hers.

I figure if that was the point, they could’ve just shown the two guys talking numbers and then noticing the car, they’d begin to talk about how nice it looks as the waitress comes by to pour more coffee, and they don’t realize it’s hers until she speaks up and says she really enjoys driving it. She would then smile knowingly, ask if they need anything else, and leave them dumbfounded staring at each other. The whole bit with the kids leaning on the car was confusing and unnecessary. I know this is all trite criticism of a stupid commercial, but I was curious if it irked any other Doper critics of television commercial advertising. :slight_smile:

I’ve never seen it, but it does sound odd. I’m not sure what point it’s trying to make either–the free financial advice, or is it smart budgeting/Citibank advisor, as you point out?

I’ve seen this, and I thought the point was pretty clear: there are two business big-wigs at the table, and you’re supposed to assume that the car belongs to one of them because they are rich; yet it turns out to belong to the waitress, because (due to her utilizing Citibank’s resources), she can actually afford a car like that on a waitress salary.

The “financial wizards” seem to be shocked that it doesn’t take someone of their calibre to afford a classic Mercedes. They seem to be shocked that what they consider to be a mere waitress can afford a car like that.

The message seems to be that with Citibank, even a waitress can compete with financially successful businessmen (thus affording a car like they can), which is evidently a surprise to them, and should be to you.

Either that, or I don’t get it either. That’s how I took it, though.

I think Dijon is right. We’re supposed to believe that the car belongs to the successful businessmen. When the waitress yells at them, it’s supposed to be a big twist ending. “Oh!” you’re supposed to say, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming. But how on earth can a waitress in a place like that afford such a nice car?! Ahh…it’s because of Citibank.”

Pepper & Dijon: I never see people driving around in old convertibles wearing suits. If anything, most folks with classic cars are in casual shirts and baseball caps when they take their cars out for a drive. I’d expect to see big honcho businessmen, however, to be driving a brand new Mercedes sedan, so the image of them driving a little blue droptop around with their suits on sounds completely ridiculous to me. I’d never have associated the car as being theirs and I’d wonder why anyone would make that assumption. If there had been some shiny Harley Davidsons parked out front, would you have assumed they’d rode to lunch on their bikes wearing their suits too? :wink: