Odd Advertisements – Yo Yo Ma and UBS?

Sometimes, I just don’t get it. When I first saw this advertisement, I thought, “What Nice Music”. Yo Yo Ma is, after all, a great cellist. The second and third time, I thought the same, “What Nice Music” and thought again, what fantastic musicians Yo Yo Ma and the pianist are.  It occurred to me after a hearing it a few times, that I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was that was being advertised. I had to concentrate really hard the next time I saw it – and there it was – the very unobtrusive UBS logo right at the end.

After many times, I have to admit, I still don’t get the logic of this advertisement. Some may call me obtuse, some may say I don’t appreciate a really good quality advertisement. Well, maybe that is all true, but I’m still baffled. I still find the association of Yo Yo Ma (and any musician or artist, for that matter) with UBS (or any bank, for that matter) a rather unnatural one.

“Working together” is something we would like all banks to do with their customers, sure. There’s nothing wrong with that, although, as a statement, it’s not particularly memorable – wouldn’t we obviously want that for any service industry? “Creating together?” Well, that’s something else. In this age, one cannot help but be reminded of “creative accounting” and “creative banking products” that led to the systemic collapse of the financial services industry. “Creative” seems to have almost become a dirty word, when associated with Finance. Doesn’t the ‘Sage of Omaha’, Warren Buffet say, after all, he likes to keep things simple? If he cannot understand something, he will not invest in it, he has always told us.

I will emphasise, this is just my opinion, and an expression of the impact of this advertisement on me (i.e. nil, as far as banks as concerned). I will never (easily anyway, even after seeing the advertisement many times) associate musicians with banks, and Yo Yo Ma with UBS. Do you have a different take on this?

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