An open letter to Ameriprise Financial

Some recent advertising nuggets that might have caught your eye, in as unlikely places as Dwell magazine… It motivated me to write the following letter to Ameriprise:

“So maybe you’re not quite at the point where you can take the family on a spontaneous weekend trip to Aspen.”

Or how about:

“Quitting your job to do charity work in Kenya is not an option. Yet.”

I have had some degree of respect for Ameriprise in the past, because I know what you were created from. I know some of the people who worked with your former identity, and was considering becoming one of them at one time in my life. I am a 51 year old male, living in New York City. I suffered through the events of September 11, 2001, particularly in financial ways, from which I hope to recover one day. Meanwhile, I am nowhere close.

Of the people that I come in contact with on a daily basis, one of those who impresses me most is the son of a millionaire real estate investor who in fact did quit everything to do charity work in Kenya for a year. His father and family went to visit him there, and all who you would think were fairly jaded already were incredibly moved, changed, by the experience of merely visiting there. Imagine the experience of working there, for a year.

And as for Aspen, I myself took a trip to Aspen, from Colorado Springs, by bicycle, when I was in college. Perhaps needless to say, it was when Aspen was worth visiting. It was not completely spontaneous, but it was richly rewarding, descending from Independence Pass into Aspen, and finally settling into someplace warm and cozy after having been out on a bike for 3 days.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I find your entire advertising approach to be despicable. It is so utterly misguided, I cannot imagine the types of loser individuals you are trying to reach. Anyone with real character would surely be put off by your slogans. Anyone who cares a rat’s ass for another human being, particularly one who is less fortunate, would realize that sometimes making a lot of money is not the Greatest Good; that sometimes, if you make the world a better place for one person, you make the world a better place.

I am certain I will get a canned response to this message from some underling at Ameriprise. But I’m simply hopeful that if the one person reading this message cares a slight bit for the state of the world today, perhaps you (being that person) will do what you can to ensure that such corporate thrusts as that being made by Ameriprise doesn’t carry it very far. Shun the tendency to get much for doing little. Understand that if the least of us has nothing, those with the most have nothing at all.


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