“Thank You” for What, Exactly?
The subliminal message of this commercial is that if you consistently make irrational financial decisions, so long as they are not as gratuitously irrational as the one dramatized, it’s okay to make them (ie: that they are somehow not irrational because the contrast between yours and this one makes yours feel that way for a short time).
No one (rationally) makes decisions as capriciously as the one that this man made, but there are plenty of people who do make decisions that might as well be that capricious by rationalizing them. Apparently (according to Citi’s marketing research, at least) there really are plenty of people who will spend money that they don’t have (ie: go into debt), and then excuse it by focusing on some marginal benefit that it will confer and completely ignoring the fact that that benefit doesn’t nearly make up for the costs incurred because of that decision. This commercial encourages that, and presents it as responsible, rational financial decision making.
Companies resort to such things because of the desperate, precarious state of the economy. Every company and industry is at the mercy of the whims and caprice of a large, powerful government. A government that could – and frequently does – change just one or two of it’s many arcane laws and regulations, and suddenly the carefully-constructed, often contractually-obligated, barely profitable business models that make economic production still possible become unprofitable and a recipe for the inevitable demise of the affected industry or company. All companies know this, and so they choose to focus on the relatively-predictable short-term instead. They do whatever they must – no matter how perverse – in order to get as much as they can as quickly as they can. It’s the name of the game in today’s “capitalism.”
“When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are. -Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged