An orange bench

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

The vile metal has become a desiring brand, and what it desires is you

When the charm of the bourgeoisie was discreet, the banking houses were discreet too. Its owners enjoyed their anonymity. At most, they allowed them to engrave, in small bronze letters, the name of the establishment on the side facade of the building, without fuss. A surname, a toponym, nothing more was enough. The money trade was carried out in silence. Bankers shied away from the spotlight and flashy logos. They didn't want anything to do with fame. Fortune satisfied them.

Now, the fiduciary landscape has changed. Looking at banker commercials on TV, we are even surprised. There are truly spectacular pieces – spectacular, here, in the sense that the philosopher Guy Debord lent to the word (lent without interest): “The spectacle is capital in such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image”. Video special effects are worth more than a thousand bills of exchange. The pecunia lost its inhibition. The vile metal has become a desiring brand, and what it desires is you.

Companies that sell bufunfa offer passion to satisfy customer demand. They wish to lend meaning to the customer’s subjectivity (in this case, “lend” with interest). They intend to stamp a logo on the personal dreams that you cherish, on your projects. They want to be partners in the modest desires of the millions of people who carry credit cards in their pockets or on their cell phones. Banks now have sex appeal.

In these days when the festive lights of the end of the year are scarce, one of these private organizations, with agencies located in cities and towns, has been releasing promotional films to tell us that its heart is “made of the future”. The campaign is well done. O slogan, truly spectacular (with royalties immaterial for Guy Debord). An advertising find, an inviting formula to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Everyone has, deep down in their indebted soul, the aspiration to have a place in the future. Everyone aspires to inhabit the future. And, presented in this tempting way, the idea of ​​a bank “made for the future” comes invested with magical, soulful force, especially when it makes us believe that being “made for the future” is an ambition that does not charge anyone the price of throwing it away the past. Future and past join hands and strengthen each other, according to the mantra of the commercial, which, in doing so, manages to capture the imagination of those who want to lose neither the past, nor the future nor the present.

To better propagate its temporal fusion recipe, the financial advertiser hired actress Fernanda Montenegro, whose magnitude hovers above time. With a personal history richer than all the financial capital of the entire 20th century, plus the first fifth of the 21st century, the great lady of Brazilian arts declares that she was born and reborn many times, in the skin of the characters she embodied. She convinces and captivates. As her characters are part of the emotional memory of so many people, the spectator, thirsty for hope, eager for a fable that can renew their depreciated energy, agrees to be moved.

The commercial was recorded in a spacious and sober theater. The place is empty. It's not exactly in the dark; many points of light in warm tones, dotting the friezes, create a cozy atmosphere. In her rhythmic speech, the actress's biography is intertwined with the story of the bank that hired her. She says strong phrases: “I transformed myself many times to be myself”. The double meaning soon establishes itself. Are you talking about yourself? Or are you talking about the bank?

“I turned into stone”, she says, but then tries to qualify: “In movement”. The emphasis she gives to this “in movement” elucidates everything. She refers to a rolling stone that does not settle. The gesture of the hands, with the index fingers rotating around each other, reinforces the message already embedded in the contemporary imagination: rock (rock) and change (and roll).

From then on, ambiguity gives way to uninhibited propaganda. The rock has less to do with the great lady than with the huge banking company. Itaú, as we know, means “black stone” in Tupi-Guarani. This rock intends to “cross time” – changing color. The black stone no longer wants to be black. The black stone wants to be orange.

The word “orange”, however, brings a discreet embarrassment, so to speak. When associated with accounting operations, the term designates a fraud: the “orange” is someone who lends his name (in exchange for a pittance) to a business that will benefit a smart guy, whose name will not appear. If so, why does a bank advertise so much to be seen as orange? Very simple: to have a warm, positive color and, with it, simplify your communication. You will see this chromatic frequency and you will think of that bank branch.

Orange, why not? There are worse colors. There are competitors who are red, and there is no account holder who protests when they deposit their caraminguás in the red. Nobody cares if the account is in the red. So, long live orange. If you do the math, you'll see that it will be cheap.

Happy New Year, whatever your color.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Uncertainty, an essay: how we think about the idea that disorients us (and orients the digital world) (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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