This TV ad for a Canadian bank may make you cry

I think you’re being a bit forward expecting journalism at a blog.

please, before you deign to dump, learn the ropes.

This is like any other ad: humain behavior and dignity – exploited to a company’s advantage. An ad can show mastership in delivering the message, but I have a hard time abstracting from its actual purpose. In this case, it would have been more ‘honest’ to have an ad with bank robbers who are invited to a dinner with the CEOs of the bank. The message being: “OK, we all know what it is about, but at least we don t hide the fact. We re really your bad bank.” Ah, then I would cry from joy.

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I’d hesitate to call them good, but the banking industry in Canada is generally a lot more stable and conservative than elsewhere. When I call something conservative, it usually isn’t a compliment, but when applied to banks it is.

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Yeah, really nice. Cheat millions of depositors with artificially low interest rates while you make billions, and then hand out some cheap trinkets to a few random people on camera. Tears of anger, maybe.

You know what struck me about this ad? That they felt they had to blur what I assume was the MLB logo in the Jays’ jerseys. Can’t have people thinking the MLB approved this message.


Wow. Much fake. Very ickyness…

The first ATM in Laval QC shows all the signage in English only.  Not only would that be considered rude, since more than 60% of the residents speak French, it is illegal…

The ad agency for this spot must have been the same one out of Toronto which, in designing a TV ad for Nova Scotia tourism, featured a flyover of a black and white American lighthouse. Apparently they didn’t know that Canadian lighthouse are painted white and red.  They probably figured that there weren’t any notable and picturesque lighthouses in NS, eh?)…

That TD ad gives me the same creepiness-feel that watching Undercover Boss does.


As a small-businessperson who has had TD Bank (US) as their primary bank for several years now, they have been overwhelmingly excellent at their job of being a bank. I don’t think they’re saints, or anything of the sort. But they are a good bank, which may sound stupid, but consider the rest of the industry, which is designed to screw their customers at every possible moment. My personal anecdote: my company had been banking with JPMorgan Chase for years. We ran $300-400k operating account balances, no debt, audited financials, $5-6mm yearly revenues. When we needed a standby letter of credit to lease some office space (around $100k, which we would fully collateralize with a certificate of deposit), we were told by Chase that we’d need to sign PERSONAL GUARANTEES for the letter of credit (which we were unaware of until the closing, natch), despite our excellent credit and collateral and obvious banking history (and them charging us 2% a year for the privilege). Why? Because Chase’s “Small Business” division only does thngs that way (i.e. takes no risk and tries to fuck you at every juncture). My partner and I told them to fuck off, and walked into TD, who did their homework on us, and has been more than happy to be our bank for the past five years. They’ve looked out for the non-profit I’m involved with (with a much larger construction line of credit). They stay open late, on Sundays, etc. Show me a big American-owned bank that is so proud of their environmental foundation that they send out calendars touting their preservation of Canadian boreal forests.


Very good point, Mr Stein.

And thanks for reminding me of a Bell and Sebastian track I’ve not listen to in a while…

“Seymour Stein, I’ve been lonely
I caught a glimpse of someone’s face
It was mine and I’d been crying
Half a world away
Ticket for a plane
Record company man
I won’t be coming to dinner”

Over here in the UK, are banks are Chaotic Evil.

Well we sent you Mark Carney to smack your bankers around. Has he helped at all?

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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.