1. Richly Man, Poorly ManRemember how last year you realized money wasn't everything? How once the intoxicating effects of the giddy bull market had faded, you came to your senses? How you finally understood -- really understood -- that there was more to life than big cars, expensive restaurants and numbers in a brokerage statement? Yeah, happened to us, too. But we got over it. And so, apparently, did Citibank. You see, for months now we've been engrossed by the bank's ad campaign, which strikes us as one of the most touchy-feely pieces of financial advertising to run since the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Perhaps you've seen these ads, which the Citigroup ( C) subsidiary has pasted on nearly every blank wall in New York City over the past year. These posters, all with the tagline "Live Richly," don't advertise anything as crass as wealth or even free toasters with new accounts. Rather, with simple yet provocative copy on a spare, white background, they use subtle digs at our financial vocabulary to provoke passers-by into reflecting on how unimportant money and objects really are. Really.
|Advertising Altruism |
These uplifting posters can't be avoided
What, asks one ad, are your assets? Why, they're things like Family, Friends, Life, Memories, The Air, Passion and Pets. Nary a mutual fund in the lot. "Holding shares," muses another ad, "shouldn't be your only form of affection." Gosh. Were we ashamed. Citigroup -- the parent of social-service agencies like Salomon Smith Barney and a conglomerate whose CEO, says Fortune, made $151 million in 2000 -- certainly had us convinced that there was more to life than just getting and spending. We were just about ready to pull a
2. Grandmaster Dave Flashback
3. Who'll Get Burned in This Particular Meltdown?In the few weeks since Jerry Levin anointed Dick Parsons as his successor at the helm of multimedia convergence colossus AOL Time Warner ( AOL), we cynical and unimaginative types have speculated that Parsons might not be best of buddies with co-Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman. Yes, we confess it had crossed our tiresomely predictable minds that the apparent opposites -- brash new media boy Pittman and low-key, old-school Parsons -- might not interact so well. Especially after that little episode where the battle-scarred, type-A Pittman got passed over for the CEO job. Maybe, just maybe, we thought, that could create a wee bit of friction.
|Broken Home |
The buddy-buddy thing didn't work for Sam & Diane. Do Dick & Bob stand a chance?
Of course, Pittman, Parsons and everyone else toeing the official line at AOL Time Warner have expressed shock and dismay that our tiny little minds would fixate on such a fiction. But we can't get this idea out of our heads -- especially since hearing the latest bit of palsy-walsy banter from Parsons during the AOL Time Warner analyst meeting Wednesday. Before handing off the microphone to Pittman, Parsons said he'd taken to referring to Bob and himself as "Fire & Ice" -- Pittman being the fire. Ouch. Wish he hadn't said that, considering the fate of the last high-profile mediasphere couple who referred to themselves as Fire & Ice. Yeah, you kids are probably too young to remember, but back in 1989 the media hype machine was working double shifts to persuade a gullible public that Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson, the hosts of the hot new ABC News show PrimeTime Live, were like, you know, Fire & Ice. We pulled some old clips out of our dusty file: Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle -- all making references to that Fire & Ice shtick. You can guess what happened. It was obvious to even the accidental observer who happened to flip past the show on the way to the Home Shopping Network: Sam and Diane hated each other's guts. By season's end, that old fire-and-ice chemistry had proved so repellent, they were co-hosting from different cities: he in Washington, she in New York. So now that Pittman and Parsons are officially like F&I, we know what that means: The next time Pittman wants to casually stroll over to Parsons' cubicle for an informal chat, he'll be packing for a five-day hike.
4. Market Performance AnxietyWhen a sell-side analyst rates a stock "market perform," it means the obvious, right? Shares will do as well as the the general pack of stocks roaming the securities plain, right? Well, we hope not. As TSC reader Mark Lindee pointed out to the research lab this week, Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown issued a research report on midday Monday rating Global Crossing ( GX) a market perform. That's fine, except for one little detail: Two hours earlier, Global Crossing had announced it was
5. Where Was A thousand apologies to Andersen attorney Nancy Temple, of whom we made fun last week for
Adam Schiff's Sage Counsel When We Needed It Most?
|What the hell happened to this city?|