Trouble Brewing

HSBC, one of the few banks to be expanding in the midst of the crisis has a new ad campaign celebrating what? Differences? Class enemies? I'm not sure, but I doubt they've found a new respect for the little guy. If this gains them street cred, it could start a damaging trend for otherwise useful confrontational tactics. Here's two examples:

The first is a full page add I saw in NYT, which they are also running in subway stations, so a massive campaign.

Most of the comments at weapon of class instruction think HSBC hit a foul ball, equating HSBC with rat, so I think it's a good sign that only Zach seems to get it.
The rat is a symbol of unfair labor practices used by unions against bad bosses.
HSBC is using the tactics that workers use against it to sell itself as an enlightened, global brand.
I think it goes beyond that, in that HSBC, by recognizing and celebrating the power of solidarity and clout that the rat represents, deflates the power of the speech.

The other is a jarring commercial depicting loggers vs. tree-huggers posted by Wall$treet Fighter.

See? We can all get along.

Definitely read the comments:
This commercial is awesome, it's really nice to see a large bank like HSBC put out a very strong advertisement to humanize themselves in a manner that isn't cliche or timid. And HSBC is not just doing lip service by producing an environmental ad. In 2006, Time magazine declared them the greenest bank and since then, HSBC has dedicated $100 million to green intiatives aimed at fighting global warming and another $200 million in researching renewable energy
This commenter goes on to add that they aren't as good as Bank of America, but still, "good work." Other comments are even worse:
Guess I'm a sucker then for sentiment. Not that i'm changing banks or anything, but i did get a little teary . . . Is it better to adhere to one's convictions over blood or marriage... or should family always supercede personal politics? Is it possible to compromise without diluting either? I really don't know

I know capitalism is always good at coopting its enemies, but I do hope this ad campaign fails.

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