Advertising markets in everything

Ally Bank’s new ad campaign highlights their commitment to customers. Watch “Predictions,” one of the first ads from this series, below. It features Nobel Prize-winning economist Thomas Sargent–bonus!

The video is here, Sargent is central to it, it is full of economic content, and for the pointer I thank Jonathan Falk.  I guess Sargent doesn’t think Fed commitments are credible!

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We need a prize where economists are compelled to try to beat the market. At the end of the game we flip a coin to see whether beating the market or not pays off.

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There is something a bit ironic about this ad coming from Ally. After the government takeover and bailout of Ally, Ally offered very aggressive CD and savings rates to attract more funds. Whether or not this was appropriate or not given its status as a government-owned entity is a good question. But even more interesting was the response from other banks, many of which also received government bailouts: they cried foul and lobbied the Treasury to prevent Ally from offering high rates to savers. Treasury then pressured Ally to lower its rates, which it did. Given the stranglehold the banking industry has on the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, the two institutions that can most influence the rates on FDIC insured CDs over the next two years, Thomas Sargent may not be able to predict CD rates but there are certainly those better positioned than he who can.

The government bailed out GMAC. Ally is the new name to hide the reality.

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Curious, isn't it, that Thomas Sargent was chosen. His stature makes the whole setup seem preposterous, but this joke must be lost on nearly everyone viewing the ad!

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I thought the ad was funny and insight. I liked it.

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To any grumblers: Did Professor Sargent say anything that was incorrect?

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