We recently discussed what appeared to be the glaring hypocrisy of financial/insurance giant AIG. We grew interested after the release of what was supposed to have been a rousing ad campaign thanking American taxpayers for their (non-optional) support during the financial crisis even as the company was simultaneously considering suing the government.
The suit would have claimed that the abnormally high interest rate charged by the fed during the bailout violated the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which protects “private property” against “public use, without just compensation”. While AIG ultimately decided not to back the lawsuit (ya think?), the story has already subverted the brand’s we’ve-cleaned-up-our-act message. The damage, as they say, is done.
“The hiccup with the lawsuit issue stole a great deal of the thunder from the ad”, said Bruce Haynes, managing partner of Purple Strategies, a corporate communications and branding management company. “For a moment, it seems they were awash in hypocrisy. Although they made a good decision not to back the lawsuit, it was a communication failure”. That’s putting it mildly — this was one hell of a hiccup. In fact, if we take the hiccup metaphor literally, we think it would look something like this (It’s a cat GIF. You’re welcome).