In New Ad, Bank of America Will Reward You...if You Have $23,586 in Your Checking Account

I'm pretty sure you are safe to grab a soda at the bowling alley, big fella.
I'm pretty sure you are safe to grab a soda at the bowling alley, big fella.
Video screencap via YouTube.com

Ad campaigns are conducted for specific reasons. Businesses often want to appeal directly to a very specific target market. Not only do these advertisements tend to be more effective, but because they are so focused, it is typically easier to track the return on the investment. Enter Bank of America's new "Everywhere" ad designed to promote a new banking rewards program that gives benefits to customers who have multiple accounts and lines of credit with BofA.

The ad, in and of itself, is rather innocuous. It's just a bunch of random scenes with actors of varying ethnicity interacting with their bank in one way or another: checking an account balance via the mobile app at a bowling alley, swiping a card in a taxi, getting a mobile alert while sleeping and doing some banking on the old laptop. It's all perfectly normal until you take a closer look at some of the screen shots.

In the first scene, a young-ish looking guy -- I'm pegging him around 30 -- is taking a look at his bank account using his cell phone. On the screen, it shows the balances of his checking, savings and investment accounts. Hold onto your hats.

Checking: $23,586.00 Savings: $48,703.00 Investment: $17,052.00

Either this guy only pays in whole dollars or there are some mathematical miracles happening, with no change for any of those -- which makes one wonder why the marketing geniuses at BofA would bother with $23,586. For realism, perhaps? But the more intriguing aspect of the ad is that this guy has just a shade under $90k in his collective bank accounts. That checking number is perhaps the most eye popping.

Sleep well. That mattress isn't filled with cash, but your bank account is.
Sleep well. That mattress isn't filled with cash, but your bank account is.
Video screencap via YouTube.com

In another scene, a couple blissfully sleeps as an alert pops up on the bedside phone. My first inclination was to wonder why this guy would allow on-screen notifications, particularly at night, until I saw the screen which read, "Available balance is $44,747 for savings account 5678." Now, I see why they are snoozing so soundly.

Yes, close that laptop and relax knowing you are a modestly rich woman.
Yes, close that laptop and relax knowing you are a modestly rich woman.
Video screencap via YouTube.com

Finally, we see a woman sitting behind her laptop at the dining room table. She smiles and casually closes it, but just before she does, we are invited to check our her balances as well.

Checking: $7,326.00 -- now, closer to reality until... Non-Retirement Investment Account: $40,489.44 Money Market Account: $41,222.45

Like the first guy, she has about $90,000 in all her accounts. We are left to assume that those pleasant dreamers are in roughly the same boat since the only peek we got at their books was their savings balance.

Of course, this is wildly different from what most people's bank account -- and I emphasize the singular rather than plural -- looks like. Most of us get alerts not to tell us how well off we are, but to let us know our balance dipped below a hundred bucks.

Clearly, Bank of America has a target customer in mind, one who has roughly $90,000 in their various accounts, at least one of which is savings worth about half that. Given the fact that the median household income in America is just over $50,000 -- that's for an average family of four -- and most people consider a household combined income of over $150,000 annually to be "rich," it seems fairly obvious who BofA wants as customers for their rewards program, and that's fine.

What I wonder is how long it took them to come up with just the right figures. There must have been some squabbling between marketing folks. "I think $50,000 is too much, but $40,000 in savings is just too low. Let's say $48,703!" Whatever the case, they are clearly aiming for a high-end market, which is also why I find it odd this ad ran during a rerun of Seinfeld. Sure, it was the "Soup Nazi" episode, but I don't imagine the average Seinfeld viewer could buy a pretty damn nice car with cash. Or maybe they could.

The video of the full ad is below.


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