You never really know how or why bad advertising campaigns are put together. The one thing you know for sure is this: there are a lot of them. The most recent would be the Goldman Sachs print advertising campaign, which launched yesterday and which is reviewed here.The reason that the GS advertising campaign is a complete waste of money is that it tells us something we already know (GS is good at its job) and fails to address the central issue facing the bank (its integrity). In blunter language, the problem that Goldman Sachs faces is that far too many people, including some of the firm’s clients, view Goldman as untrustworthy at best and double-dealing slimeballs at worst.
This view, fair or not, is very widely held. And it will likely attract more adherents when they see this movie, which will be released soon. There is no way to dance around this “integrity issue.” It must be addressed head-on.
The best way to do that, since Goldman Sachs executives proclaiming their integrity is an obvious non-starter, is to have respected people in the worlds of business, finance, diplomacy and national security speak directly to (and about) the firm’s integrity. If Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein says the firm is not a den of thieves, that doesn’t mean anything. He’s talking his own book. If, on the other hand, Warren Buffet attests to the firm’s bona fides, he’s sticking his neck out (yes, I know he has a not insignificant investment in the firm, but his reputation means a lot more to him than his investment in GS preferred stock). If other leading figures in the world stick their necks out for Goldman Sachs, it will have a cumulative effect. The issue of Goldman Sachs’ integrity as an operating business concern will abate.
It won’t abate if they keep telling us that they helped a growth company find new investors. We already know that. Everyone (that they need to reach) already knows that.
This article originally appeared at Ellisblog and is republished here with permission.