Ad of the Day: Ally Bank

Nobel Prize-winning economist Thomas Sargent lends his expertise, or not, to Grey's threatrical campaign

This week's honors for least likely endorser in a commercial go to Thomas Sargent, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics, who, for whatever reason, agreed to shoot one of the new Ally Bank spots from Grey in New York.

Not that the 69-year-old New York University professor and acknowledged mastermind of macroeconomics has to work very hard—or denigrate himself professionally, for that matter. The sum total of his contribution in the "Predictions" spot is to deny, in a single word, any ability to predict the future, at least when it comes to knowing what CD rates will be two years from now. "If he can't, no one can," says the spokeswoman. "That's why Ally has a raise-your-rate CD. Ally Bank. Your money needs an Ally."

Sargent's is a kind of anti-endorsement, or at least a non-endorsement—a long way from what Robert Jarvik used to do for Lipitor.

The structure of the new Ally spots is pleasantly theatrical—literally so, as both ads take place at the theater, with the spokeswoman, in a spotlight, introducing the short scenes. A giant Ally logo is suspended from wires, dominating the stage, then is lifted so the action can begin. The lighting, in particular, is lovely in these ads—and the writing is snappy and brought to life spiritedly by the actors.

A second ad promotes the bank's 24/7 customer service, and commitment to having real people on the line, through a skit with a woman who has fallen in love with a robot. "Don't you love me?" she says to the robot. "I am a robot," he replies. "No, I know you're a robot!" she says. "But there's more in you than just circuits and wires!" But in fact, there isn't—as he swiftly demonstrates. "A machine can't give you what a person can," the spokeswoman says. "That's why Ally has knowledgable people there for you night and day."

Knowledgable people—always good to have around. Even if, like Sargent, they often don't know anything at all.

CREDITS

Client: Ally Bank

Agency: Grey, New York

Spot: "Predictions"

Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren

Executive Creative Director: Jonathan Koffler

Creative Director: Andy Currie

Creative Director: Lu Romero

Associate Creative Director: Duc Nguyen

Associate Creative Director: Liem Nguyen

Agency Executive Producer: Kimberly Kietz

Agency Producer: John Hilmer

Production Company (location): Biscuit Filmworks (LA)

Director: Tim Godsall

Editor (person & company): Dave Koza / Mackenzie Cutler

Music/Sound Design (person & company): Sound Lounge

Principal Talent: Jill Paice (Host)

Principal Talent: Wren Brown (Moderator)

Principal Talent: Thomas Sargent (Economist)

Spot: "Robot"

Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren

Executive Creative Director: Jonathan Koffler

Creative Director: Andy Currie

Creative Director: Lu Romero

Associate Creative Director: Duc Nguyen

Associate Creative Director: Liem Nguyen

Agency Executive Producer: Kimberly Kietz

Agency Producer: John Hilmer

Production Company (location): Biscuit Filmworks (LA)

Director: Tim Godsall

Editor (person & company): Dave Koza / Mackenzie Cutler

Music/Sound Design (person & company): Butter / Sound Lounge

Principal Talent: Jill Paice (Host)

Principal Talent: Elizabeth Loyacano (Woman)