Banks Fear Insecure Image - Lashing Out at Y2K Jokes and Speculation : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Banks Fear Insecure Image

Lashing Out at Y2K Jokes and Speculation

By James Walker

N E W Y O R K, Dec. 1  Mystery! Danger! Y2K! To advertisers, it is a great sell.

This is a bank run, voices the commercial. Everyones afraid of losing their money with this Y2K problem.

The KIA motor company is making fun of the millennium bug.

But dont worry, the commercial continues. Everythings fine. Where Y2K really means yes 2 KIA.

But the American Bankers Association, which protects the image of the nations bankers, sees no humor.

Deeply concerned, it wrote the auto maker: We are telling bankings federal regulators to withdraw this ad.

Bankers do have a sense of humor but when the jokes are about the United States banking system, says Virginia Dean of the ABA, thats something different and that concerned them.

KIA refused to pull the ad.

Public Knows Best

We assume the American public is smarter than what the bankers are making them out to be, refutes Dick Macedo, the executive vice president of sales for KIA Motor America.

Meanwhile, Polaroid launched its Y2K commercial and it really unnerved the nervous bankers.

Seconds before midnight, an ATM customer checks his balance and takes a Polaroid picture of the screen that reads $342.63. But as the clock strikes midnight, his balance soars to more than $46 million.

The ABA refused to say cheese. It fired off a letter to Polaroid.

You throw fuel on peoples fears about the ability of their banks to weather Y2K.

Polaroid buckled and withdrew the ad.

Then the bankers escalated the campaign against Y2K paranoia.

Preaching Good News

The bankers wrote a 1,864-word sermon for ministers to deliver that proclaims that nothing bad will happen because of Y2K.

It is complete with references to Moses and to Bill Gates.

Prepare as best you can, the sermon advises, then trust God for the rest.

If the sermon was ever delivered, Nike never heard it. The company has a new advertisement that pokes fun at Y2K and the banks. A runner jogs down a street on New Years Eve, passing various Y2K problems along the way: an ATM machine spits out cash as someone scrambles to the ground to pick up the discarded bills; a driver brakes at a traffic light on the fritz; a missile dives through the air.

Nike says so far no complaints from the bankers or, for that matter, from the Pentagon.

-- (, December 02, 1999


Why is the mass media so slow to react? This story could have been written 2 months ago. Time to get up to speed, don't you think?

Nah. Won't happen.....

-- counting down (, December 02, 1999.

"Bankers do have a sense of humor"

Bwah ha ha, not any of the ones I worked with. Ooh, no, I know, they're talking about the ones that come up with statements like "staff are being cut to improve customer service". ;)

-- Colin MacDonald (, December 02, 1999.

The banks are scared to death about this. The branch manager at my bank is a GI and is preparing. It only takes one major bank failure somewhere in the world to start the failure snowball rolling downhill faster and faster.

-- cody (, December 02, 1999.

Nothing scarier than how scared the ABA is.. me thinks.

I only saw "Its a Wonderful Life" ONCE this season. Do you suppose the ABA blocked repeat broadcasts?

-- Linda (, December 02, 1999.

This story WAS written 2 months ago. Kia did pull the ad. So did Polaroid

-- 8 (, December 02, 1999.

I still think banks are more afraid of Y2K taking out the networks than they are of bank runs. I think a bank run is a red herring. These guys will lose EVERYTHING if the system goes down and stays down. they can always manufacture more fiat money, but if the system croaks, they are screwed forever.

-- Liz Pavek (, December 02, 1999.

I'm a banker with a sense of humor, but I guess that's why I'm not running the place. Just a VP.

-- CA Banker (, December 02, 1999.

This story was the last one to run before the end of yesterday's ABC World News Tonight. This is a transcript.

-- (, December 02, 1999.

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