I listen to a lot of talk radio for the mental stimulation it provides... usually by making me furious. (Constantly irritate an oyster, and you get a pearl. Right?) Anyway, it's beside the point of this post. I have lately become OBSESSED with this unusually infuriating radio ad for Chase Banking that seems to play every hour on the hour on certain stations. Because it provokes me to the point of insanity, it's time to deconstruct it. Please play the ad and follow along... and imagine the fury that drove me to this level of detail. (Apologies for the subpar quality... captured on an iPhone.)


(guitar music)

The theme music seems to announce that this is just another warm, wacky episode in "Chase Banking Stories," everybody's new favorite show.

Hi, welcome to Chase.

Hi! Yeah, I've seen your branches poppin' up all over town.

These two chuckleheads' voices are virtually indistinguishable... a failure in casting. Both seem early-30s young, very white, very laid-back. And you can hear the director's voice in the booth: "Yeah, just keep this loose... two guys, talkin', shootin' the shit... really natural."

Yeah, we're new to California.

Well, I run my own business. And you know, lately, I've been getting the same-old, same-old from my bank... (exasperated scoff) I could use a change.

"Same-old, same-old." Nice and vague. It's REALLY hard for banks to distinguish their services, so let's keep this airy. This actor’s scoffing expression makes its first appearance. He really knows his scoffs. A scoff expert.

Well (chuckle), you're in the right place. Chase has been helping business owners for over two centuries.

And this actor knows his *chuckles*.

Wuh, wait... (disbelieving scoff) I thought you said you were new!
"Wow, you are really trying to screw me here. I live in a constant state of surprise. Grass surprises me. Air surprises me. I can communicate all of this with another one of my scoffs."

No, we're new to CALIFORNIA. “You're a dumbass.” But we've been doing this long enough to know what business owners want in a bank.

"Let me reassure you that I am not trying to screw you."

So... how can you help ME?

Well, for starters, our free business checking has free online bill pay and free account alerts. And our business specialists are here to address your needs.

Wow, this is unbelievable... just like every other bank!

(greedy, disbelieving chuckle) GREAT.

"My pleasure is almost sexual." Variation on a scoff.

And your deposits are backed by FDIC insurance. So you know your money's safe. Just like every other bank! By the way... what business are you in?

Oh, ah, landscaping.

Director: "Nice read… very loose and natural."

So, um... (chuckle) you... came in to see if the grass was GREENER?

"I can barely get this line out, it's so funny."

Hah hah hah! (amused scoff) Yeah... stick to banking.

Apparently, this WAS funny to this douchebag. That's "A" material to him. And, he got to give us another variant on his breathy scoff.


Great chuckle! With one syllable, it communicates, "Oh, he nailed me. I am pwned, and he's my new bestie."

(guitar music and blah blah blah)

The guitar theme returns, promising a sequel, if not a whole new radio series. I can't wait for another episode of this shit!

Now, I've been in the ad business long enough to not necessarily blame the "creative" team for this ad... there could be a million political reasons a radio ad turned out this way. But I still have to wonder if everyone high-fived each other at the end of the session, then celebrated by hitting the bar, then accidentally committed a drunken indiscretion that will haunt them later. Or did they edit the spot sixteen times with ever-growing pains in their guts, before sending it off to the client to be (unbelievably, unbelievably) approved?

Whose reel did this wind up on?

Sorry. Don't mind me. I'm just obsessed. And now it's out of my system.

—Brad, 08/09