“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use, do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon
Citibank recently launched a new credit card in partnership with MySpace targeted at young adults which it terms “Generation Forward”. It’s launched a sexy ad talking bout this generation, offering some reward type arrangements for good behaviour and offers an interest rate reduction for paying on time.
The idea has been slated by many already as an empty promotion that not only offers a complete firfy if you read the fine print, but that the “generation forward” positioning is actually at odds (in philosophy) from how Citibank itself operates.
The idea of a bank rewarding younger people for responsible repayments is a nice one. The idea of putting a line in the financial sand between the generations which caused the financial crisis and the new generations coming up the line is also a nice one. All in all it seems to be another marketing program that didn’t quite hit the mark due to it’s inability to deliver any real change beyond a sexy campaign.
On the banking scene,I wonder if anyone will build on the idea and do it for real? I wonder if a bank could actually take the positioning and deliver on real savings for younger people as a loyalty exercise? If they could find more innovative ways to provide value and earn more coin for themselves, whilst providing a genuinely responsible and transparent credit plan for young people in the process…Now that would be impressive.
If you’re interested, here’s a little more commentary on the topic:
An interesting post borrowed from the NYTimes ‘Technology BITS’ section which I thought you might find interesting.
It seems that Citigroup — the mega-bank that managed its own finances so badly that it has required three taxpayer bailouts totaling at least $45 billion so far — is preaching fiscal responsibility to young people. This month the company began promoting a Visa credit card to MySpace users called Citi Forward, with the slogan, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Cardholders receive bonus points with each charge, which can be used for concerts, movie premieres and music downloads. They also earn points worth a buck or so for good deeds, such as donating canned goods to the hungry. If consumers pay on time for three months in a row, they can qualify for a quarter-point reduction in the card’s 14.24 percent interest rate, with rates going down as much as two percentage points after two years of on-time payments. On the other hand, a late payment quickly doubles the interest rate to 29.99 percent, according to the card’s terms and conditions.
Citi and MySpace have not just created a credit card, however. They are marketing a way of life, complete with a manifesto:
“I am Generation Forward.
I look not backward, but forward.
I reject the selfish ways of the past.
The environment, the economy, our very security …
They’re the consequences of people not thinking about consequences.
The world I’m inheriting makes me different.
I’m not afraid of what might happen, but energized by what could happen.
For my generation, forward isn’t just a word.
It’s a way of life.
I believe actions speak louder than words.
I believe in the power of making good visible.
I believe in sharing the wealth, spreading the peace, helping the
unfortunate, recycling, alternative energy sources, exercise, eating
healthy, giving back, spending wisely and setting a good example.
I believe that if bad things happen when I do bad,
good things should happen when I do good.
I believe in good design, keeping my word, paying on time, using the
Internet instead of paper and fiscal responsibility.
I am Generation Forward.
I’m the first generation to have a credit card named after me.
Imagine! A credit card that rewards you for doing the right thing.
I am Generation Forward.”
As the tech-news blog ReadWriteWeb wrote Wednesday, “How much more surreal could this get?”
Just imagine if Citi were to follow its own rules and “set a good example” for those young MySpace users.
Instead of simply taking a second and third government handout after it blew through the first one, Citi could pay back the taxpayers at 29.99 percent interest, the same rate it will charge MySpace cardholders who miss a payment.
Instead of keeping those unearned billions in bonuses, Citi’s executives could “believe in sharing the wealth” and give some money back to shareholders, who have seen their stock plunge to $1 a share.
Instead of getting more government cash as they fritter away ever more of the bank’s capital, Citi’s bankers could earn points towards rides on the company jet as they make timely repayments of the taxpayers’ money.
What about it? Nah. That responsibility stuff is for the chumps of Generation Forward.