Brand marketers can learn a lot from Morgan Stanley’s epic mistake that was revealed earlier this week thanks to InvestmentNews.
The country’s largest wealth management firm created a parody to the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie, with their own 10-minute movie, “Margin Games: Manager on Fire,” which they planned on showing during their branch managers meeting in February of 2014.
The parody, which can be viewed here, has sparked some outrage, an it is completely understandable. The parody reflects a cutthroat culture among wirehouse managers, pinning branch managers against each other.
InvestmentNews points out that in every joke, there is a grain of truth. In the parody, this couldn’t be more true. Per InvestmentNews, Some current and former Morgan Stanley executives who asked not to be identified said the fact that a video was even made that joked about people who were losing their jobs shows the detachment of executives from other employees. In fact, two months after the managers’ meeting, the firm began a reorganization. The firm cut the number of regions to eight from 12 and reduced the divisions from three to two. One of the divisional directors who was featured in the video, for example, left the firm after his position was eliminated. Four regional managers were moved to different roles.
There were also jokes that bordered on racial stereotypes including, having an Asian woman appear as the expert in martial arts who pulls knitting needles from her hair and throws them at a dartboard.
It is understandable why the firm decided to pull the video and hoped to have it locked away, never to be seen. Now that it has been found and seen by millions it is a lesson to be learned not just by Morgan Stanley but all brand marketers.
They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but videos are worth at least double that. As it is clear from Morgan Stanley’s mistake, brand marketers, especially those in regulated industries, need to compliant and sensible, not silly. So to all you brand marketers still considering silly ideas, “may the odds be ever in your favor.”
Lesson Learned: Morgan Stanley Should Keep To Finance, Not Comedy