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I worry that some of our recent copy could have been written by me.. It's not right when the bank starts talking in my own particular style, because I still firmly believe that banks should be stuffy, distant, and official. You know, like the one in Mary Poppins. That, to me, is a proper bank.

So, we're giving away a free iPod Shuffle (while stocks last) to customers opening student accounts. The leaflet remarks

"At Lloyds TSB we wanted to give students something to help them in their studies. Something they could use at Uni that would be really useful. We opted for an iPod Shuffle. With 512Mb (incorrect, it should be MB, otherwise it means megabits) of USB Flash Memory, use it to share lecture notes, save downloaded images or whatever floats your boat. And, of course, it also plays tunes - iTunes. With over 2 million songs in the iTunes Music Store, putting a top playlist together could be one of the toughest decisions you'll have to make"

I'm sorry, but 'top playlist'? They might as well just say l33t, and have done with it.. The whole thing just feels a little more familiar than I'd expect from my bank. The second issue is the 'model' they've used.. Her right arm bears a tattoo, her ear lobes are both stretched, she's got both lips (on her face) pierced, and has a pink mohawk. It's like somebody who has no concept of 'alternative' has brainstormed everything he can think of, and then hired somebody who meets all the criteria. Even when I had a pink mohawk and facial piercings myself, I wouldn't want to feel like that was an image my bank was trying to promote.

Even the attractive blonde in the literature is wearing huge chunky bracelets which just scream out "We were told by a focus group that this style would add warmth and engagement". And the men in the leaflets have been carefully selected to have either Indie-style-hair (think Mikey from Big Brother) or are wearing tribal style necklace type things. It just feels like we're saying "We're a bank, we cater to individuals, this is what we think individuals are like"...

My main worry though is that later on, they're copying me practically word for word, at least in the concepts they use..

Compare these two remarks in my journal in the last couple of weeks:

"I believe that in the present Internet vernacular, the exclamation of 'w00t' is appropriate.."
"I believe the relevant phrase, in Internet parlance, is 'o rly?'"

You can see where I'm going with that.. I use 'Internet culture' words, but prefix them with sufficiently complex vocabulary as to make the entire thing ironic. The Student Account literature continues thus:

"The new Lloyds TSB account for students. We think it's, to use the vernacular, safe."

Familiar much?

All that said, I do think it's a good deal.. Much better than the student offering that Barclays had when I was a student, which was totally naff.. And hey, free iPod (which is a project I'm involved in), that's not so bad.. You just have to forgive us our attempts at sounding more human - it's not the sort of thing that comes naturally to banks :o)

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That is indeed just plain frightening.

Don't fret, your bank is just trying to get 'down' with the 'homies' in the student ghettos, if you pardon my use of common-person talk.

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