Not quite sure what to make of this RaboDirect ad…

This half-page ad appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Age. I am not quite sure what to make of it. Any ideas?

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Not quite sure what to make of this RaboDirect ad…

  1. Peregrinus

    On the one hand, you can see it as a compliment to the church. The sincere commitment of the clergy is used as a benchmark against which to measure the commitment of a bank. The point of the ad is that you would never see a notice of this kind in a confessional.

    On the other hand, it seems a trivialisation to take the acknowledged commitment to ministry of so many clergy, and exploit that to market a financial product.

    On the other other hand, the church lives and moves in the world and its daily activities are very much part of the world’s life, and is often measured against worldly standards. It does us no harm to be reminded of this.

    On the other other other hand . . . no, wait, I’ve run out of hands.

  2. Tom

    I laughed.

  3. Shan

    I liked it. Although I suspect that the ad won’t have wide appeal. After all, it assumes familiarity with an old-style confessional – and among readers of the Age. I’m pretty sure that those two things don’t readily coincide.

    Or perhaps the ad is the product of a Catholic who is rather disaffected with the routine laziness many experience and is redirecting that emotion into the ad. Although I suspect I’m reading my own bias into the ad!

  4. Matthias

    i saw and this and thought of the Dave Allen skit of the man who went to two confessionals,one labelled ‘MINOR SINS” the other “Major Ones” He dillydaddled and then went into the Major confession ,to be consumed by hellfire. Perhaps it could be used when talking about Banking ethics-oh do they actually have any??

  5. Oh, I appreciated this very much…but I agree with Shan that it wouldn’t have wide appeal…at least that would be the case in the Protestant US where “forgiveness of sins” IS automatic (and certainly not something that requires absolution from a cleric) and not a concern in general if one has said the sinners prayer, made a decision for Christ and is now saved. And such is the fruit when slivers of Truth have been rejected over the centuries.

    At first the ad made me laugh but upon reflection it makes me cry….

  6. Mike

    Very strange add for public promotion. It really seems like it was written by – and for – conservative Catholics. I really like it, but I do wonder about its wider appeal. Fact is, a lot of people would love to hear this from the clergy.

  7. Peregrinus

    I’d almost say the reverse, Mike. I think what this ad assumes and appeals to is an understanding and experience of Catholicism which is formed at second hand, from outside. Think of a 1970s/80s TV sitcom about Christianity or Catholicism. It will feature references to the writers’ experience of Christianity or Catholicism from his or her own childhood – so, already out of date by the time the writer is an adult, and focussing on the things that resonate with children, or strike them as funny. Lots of images of old-style confessionals, priests in soutanes, classroom teachers who are nuns in full habit with names like Sister Aloysius. That, for me, is what this picture evokes most strongly – not the church of today, or the church of my childhood, but the hackneyed media representations of the church. Note that they’re not necessarily hostile representations – this one clearly isn’t – but they are very superficial.

    It’s a jokey ad. It relies on people recognising the image of church referred to, and understanding it. It doesn’t rely on them accepting it as a true or complete representation of the church.

    Remember, this ad is not trying to say anything about the church. It’s trying to say something about RaboDirect, which is an online banking service offered by Rabobank Australia.

    Banks used to be regarded as pillars of rectitude, propriety and stability, but this reputation has taken a bit of a hammering lately. (Bit like the clergy, come to think of it.) I think what the bank is trying to do is to distance themselves from the image of banks as commercial, short-term, profit-focussed, market-driven operations, and recover something of their earlier reputation. But they can’t be too po-faced about it, so they do it in this slightly jokey fashion which suggests that, for all their failings, they aspire to the kind of commitment and values that clerics (for all [i]their[/i] failings) aspire to, rather than those of, say, second-hand car salesmen.

    • Tony

      … err … not that there’s anything wrong with second-hand car salesmen … or, I hasten to add, second-hand car saleswomen!

      Right Pere?

      🙂

      • Peregrinus

        Charity enjoins silence. Bishops are fair game on this board, but second-hand car salesbeings can expect a degree of forbearance.

  8. Matthias

    Is this possibly a confessional for Prosperity Gospel followers? Confession at the same time that their bank account is also weighed and found wanting .

  9. Susan Peterson

    The Church where I became a Catholic had this sort of confessional. Not only that-it still has them and they are still functional and used.

    I know some have been turned into broom closets, but other churches still have them. Are they really such a rarity in your experience?

    Susan Peterson