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What You Can Learn From AIG's 'Thank You America' Misfire

January 18, 2013

AIG's recent ad campaign, "Thank You America," could have been a perfect hit if it wasn't for a major communication faux pas.

The insurance company's ads launched Dec. 31 with the hope to regain the trust of Americans and prove it had gotten its business back in order following the financial crisis and the resulting government bailout. "One of the things that AIG recognizes is that the impact of the economic crisis on people has been significant," said Ann Green, senior partner at Millward Brown. Many taxpayers also continue to associate AIG with the excesses that led to the financial crisis, more than four years after they rescued the company with a $182.3 billion bailout. Several Congressmen recently characterized AIG as the "poster child" for Wall Street greed, fiscal mismanagement and excessive executive bonuses.

To rebuild brand trust, the campaign featuring real AIG employees thanking Americans for their support during the financial crisis needed to forge an emotional connection with a wary public still feeling the effects of the economic crisis. According to Mrs. Green, the TV spots were right on the mark. "The ads are well executed and tap into the fears and angst of people," she added.

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