This TV ad for a Canadian bank may make you cry

If we’re going full pedant here, I believe TD Canada Trust is just a brand name under which Toronto Dominion Bank operates. And technically TD Bank, N.A. (the bank that was fined in the Reuters article) operates under a completely separate charter (although it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Toronto Dominion Bank).

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Yes. Toronto-Dominion Bank is the parent company that owns subsidiary banks. TD Canada Trust is the name of the bank that regular Canadians deal with. The name comes from when TD merged with another bank called Canada Trust. It was a big deal at the time.

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You need to ratchet up your media-skepticism a few notches: how did the rejigged ATMs know which customer was going to use them, at that moment? Can you say: ‘Actors’? Or, at the very least, ‘prepped customers’.

Look at the video again, set it to HD, stop it at the 9 sec. mark - man with the ‘The Driveway Sealer’ t-shirt. (BTW, it’s a real company, just east of Pickering.)

Notice how he walked to the ATM holding his debit card in his hand, sporting a big smile, staring directly at the camera. He wasn’t sporting a distracted or expressionless face, nor was he looking at the card slot or the ATM screen for instructions.

Staring. Directly. At. The. Camera.

I remember, half a dozen years ago, seeing a promo for a ‘reality’ wedding show. The tag line at the end of the promo was something like ‘Real People, Real Life’.

Funny thing was, I had just watched the ‘Real’ woman in the wedding dress with her BFFs that the promo showed, playing a minor role in made-for-TV movie some 20 minutes earlier.


Uh yeah - finally some customers get to know how the bank feels every day when it charges you $2 - $4 for accessing your own money, or $15 for not having the minimum balance or $30 for overdraft. I bet they cry with tears of joy too.

OK, so this is just another fucking awful ad in an endless river of fucking awful ads where a corporation tries to implant some kind of emotional connection with the plebs they wish to screw, and Xeni’s posted it ironically because the bank’s larger actions are clearly completely unconcerned with anything but profit, right? Because a lot of people here seem to be wondering if they should be feeling something genuine watching this video, and I find that kind of scary.

I don’t know that they’re wondering about a missing feeling - they’re just sounding a bit sad for being so jaded, but they’re a lot safer for it. Considering the fact that there’s another thread on this very site that’s talking about the legality of websites to use their members in experiments for the purpose of gaining data for market research — people should recognize pretty well what’s going in this ad.

Folks, this ad is doing what Facebook did when it gave people positive feedback, only in this case - you’re the user getting altered messages. The bank is trying to emotionally manipulate you from a distance - and it seems like you know it.

I applaud you.

I also wonder if the responses would have been so very jaded if the initial post by @xeni hadn’t contained the information about TD Bank’s involvement in the ponzi scheme. That made them as a company immediately untrustworthy, before anyone ever watched the commercial. Would everyone be equally untrusting of an ad for a company that they think they can trust?

As a person who has worked with advertisers (and now refuses to do so), I’m always curious about this type of thing.

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Well said, but less nourishing for my fragile sense of superiority ;p


A what now?

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I saw this ad on Facebook and I thought it was just too on the nose. It’s clearly an ad designed to “go viral” and I just thought that it was so tearjerker manufactured. It’s bad enough to have it passed all over Facebook, but at least I expect a large serving of treacle there.

Believe it or not, there are companies people do trust, even in limited ways.

Certain types of companies are much more prone to being distrusted by their clients. This post was about a bank (already bad) that was known to have been involved in mismanagement of funds (really bad!). That’s very different from a company that makes a jam which farms its own fruit and hasn’t changed its recipe for 60 years.

Trust is a commodity for companies, and it can help with customer retention.

Edit: You may be surprised by how much you trust companies without realizing it. If you ever bought a car (even new) and then drove it straight home, you trusted both the company who built the car, and the dealership who sold it to you. In fact, part of your reason for selecting the car probably was company trust.

That’s a LOT of overdraft fees that paid for that.

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I trust a company to do what is legally required of it to provide a good or service to me for more than it costs them. No more, no less. If they piss me off, I won’t make a fuss, I’ll just move my business elsewhere in future.

I certainly don’t expect any favours (because they’ll only be for their own profit), and I don’t want a ‘relationship’ with them. My reasons for sticking with companies are almost always down to apathy and convenience, not loyalty.

As far as cars go, I trust the manufacturer and seller to honour the warranties applicable to what I bought. I’ve never once bought a second car from the same dealer, and every car I’ve ever owned has been a different brand.

With banking, I stayed with one awful bank in the UK out of laziness, in the US I banked with an awful US one (also out of laziness) until I decided to dump them and take a minor hit in convenience to change to a credit union (who I also expect to be useless, but as long as they aren’t outright crooks, I’m okay with them).

Oh, I just knew you’d be along as soon as I read GregS’ post! Click on Xeni’s byline up at the top there: what’s it say? “Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist.” Oops!

(To be clear, I’m not personally fussed at Xeni for this. It’s a simple typo that doesn’t change the meaning of anything. Usually when we do this dance you’re defending Doctorow for just straight making shit up. Fortunately for him, I suppose, his bio just starts “I write books.” So lying is A-OK, then!)

OK, so are you over at tirelessly calling them out? Because that is unequivocally presented as “Fair and Balanced” reporting of the News (whereas BB is clearly op-ed), and if inaccuracy in that endeavour bothers you, I’m very surprised you have time to spend at Boing Boing worrying about Cory Doctorow.

Wow. Is “sure, he may be a liar, but he’s no worse than Fox News” really the best defense you can muster? You’re not even gonna try to argue that he’s just misinterpreted, or something? If I was in Mr. Doctorow’s shoes, I would ask you to please stop helping.

No answer to the question, I note.


What’s the name of this particular fallacy? The one where you insist that your opponent is required to address all the problems of the world in strict hierarchical order? It’s very popular on the internet; we had one a few days ago in the Cleveland Indians thread, when someone tried to assert that we weren’t allowed to care about racist sports mascots until all other racial problems had been completely solved, or something. If it doesn’t have a name, it should.

In any case the answer is No, obviously, because my criteria for following a site do not include “how many fights can I start in the comments,” because I don’t hate myself. I started reading BoingBoing because I generally enjoyed their content and found their political views inoffensive, and I started commenting on BoingBoing because I like discussing things I read, and some while later I started rage-commenting on BoingBoing because, in my sole perception, the quality of the content in general and of Doctorow’s posts in particular had been dropping dramatically, and it breaks my heart to see such a brilliant writer turning into…this. Maybe it’s time to take a break, because I see less and less of what I came here for.

Question answered. Now you stop dodging yours.

That’s meant to be a joke, right?

I wouldn’t be surprised to find it in a TOS, in ultra-fine print, posted on a bottom rear corner of the ATM.

“By engaging in any transaction with TD Bank, it’s affiliates, partners, or any related or unrelated company or organization, you hereby give implicit permission to TD Bank to gather any and all information about your life, your family, friends, and associates, and all related activities, to be used by TD Bank, it’s affiliates, partners, and anyone else they choose, for marketing purposes or for any other purpose they deem fit and/or profitable…”

I’m very disappointed to find BoingBoing using such click-bait headline tactics. BoingBoing, please please help to be the antidote to this stupid fad.

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