Citibank really needs some marketing leadership. Sure, I've complained about their questionable marketing tactics in the past, including the wasted marketing dollars by getting the naming rights to the Mets new stadium (BTW - love the name of that post - Shea Goodbye to Shea), but this new ad campaign by Citibank seems like an utter waste of marketing dollars. And after all, aren't those marketing dollars your tax dollars?
Now I spent 5 years in financial services - I was hired at DLJdirect as an Online Marketing Director, made it through the CSFBdirect merrger, then to Harrisdirect, and finally left with E*Trade's acquisition of Harrisdirect. I worked for some really smart executives including Blake Darcy who was one of the (if not the) pioneers of online trading and the bankers at CSFB and Bank of Montreal. One thing these financial executive hated was to waste ANY marketing dollar and especially hated paying agency fees. Plus, these executives spent a lot of time figuring out our promotions - it wasn't like you could run your own campaign even as a Managing Director without get the executive team to buy into your plan - that included deciding should it be 25 free trade or 50 free trades
That's why this ad campaign is so strange. 1.30% APY is the offer? They actually used taxpayer money to pay a creative agency to develop these series of 15 and 30 second ads? Do you know how much that costs? Plus, there are the actual media dollars plus fees (probably around 10% of the buy) to try and convince you that 1.30% APY with a minimum $25K deposit is something to get excited about? On $25K that's about $325 if you let your money sit with them for a full year. BTW - the small print says under $25K your APY falls to 0.50%.
Bank of America on the other hand (their biggest competitor) has been talking about online bill payment and their forced savings account on their keep the change offer (I think they match some of the money).
The best Citibank could come up with is promoting 1.30%? This is just another example of continued bad marketing from Citibank - this time it is your tax dollars at work "fueling" the offer and paying high media fees and media dollars. Sad and wasteful. At least it's probably 1.30% better than their worst marketing idea ever.