Ally's 'bankers as cheaters' commercials pulled as document investigations continue
Ally Financial yanked its popular commercials that featured bankers as cheaters on Sept. 19--just days after the company halted evictions in 23 states after admitting that some documents it submitted in support of foreclosures were flawed.
The ad campaign, for the company's Internet banking arm and aimed at distancing the former GMAC from the struggling auto maker General Motors, focused on bait-and-switch schemes. Kids were promised certain things like ponies, toys and other presents but ended up getting something else. GMAC received a $17 billion bailout during the financial crisis and is now majority owned by the U.S. Treasury.
Fans called it brilliant. Critics were appalled when they heard the secret behind the dramatic reactions of the children when they learned they had been tricked. It turns out the kids weren't acting.
4closurefraud.org, an advocacy site for homeowners in distress, wrote that it's "Just like the typical smear campaign... Attempt to make others look bad and shift the blame because your practices are even worse."
The site has a spoof video featuring the company's now-infamous robo-signer Jeffrey Stephan.
Ally spokesman James Olecki said that the shift in the bank's advertising campaign has "nothing to do with the mortgage issues." "The bank ads are completely separate from the mortgage business," he said.
Olecki said the commercials "resonated very very well" with consumers. "And now we find that customers understand what Ally Bank is. So these new ads talk about the success of the bank," he said.
Complete coverage in The Washington Post:
Sept. 20: Ally suspends evictions on foreclosed homes in 23 states
Sept. 21: A single Ally employee, Jeffrey Stephan, signed over 10,000 documents a month without reading them
Sept. 22: Fake documents, forged signatures plague foreclosure system
Graphic: 'Robo-signer' Linda Green's changing signature
Who is Jeffrey Stephan anyway?
Sept. 23: Mortgage documentation problems could affect other states not included in Ally's 23-state moratorium
Sept. 24: Lawmakers question Fannie on 'foreclosure mills'
Ariana Eunjung Cha
| September 27, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
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