Crap marketing campaign of the day, Merrill Lynch edition

By Felix Salmon
June 19, 2009

This is the new branding campaign for Merrill Lynch, and it’s stunningly crap. First an old-fashioned fountain pen flies in from the right, to be met by a mirroring BofA logo (the Merrill logo seems to have been ditched) coming in from the left. The fountain pen then does a weird auto-rotate thing, only to start writing in a bold, modern, san-serif font! (I think it might be Benton Sans.)

What does the pen write? The new slogan: “Signed, sealed and delivering”. I’m a fan of the Oxford comma, so I hate this slogan on grammatical grounds alone. But that to one side, the slogan not only means nothing, it also signifies nothing, beyond vague allusions to a Stevie Wonder hit and the even vaguer concept that a brokerage should, er, be delivering something.

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. If you click through to the full PDF, it’ll tell you what they’re delivering on:

Our aim is clear: To continue delivering on the great potential of our union by helping to grow businesses like yours.

Yeah, they used grow as a transitive verb, which is really ugly. But not as ugly as their new logo:

uglylogo

This takes lazy to a whole new level. The location of the logo is particularly odd: it looks as though Bank of America gets to keep its old logo, while Merrill Lynch, having lost its bull, is left with nothing at all.

Finally, to the right of the logo is a bunch of dense all-caps jargon in which the word “global” appears three times and the word “banking” twice, just in case we were unsure what exactly a bank does.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Bank of America is telling me it does banking, because otherwise I might suspect it does little more than put together clichéd and unimaginative marketing campaigns. It seems to be very good at that.

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