BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Examines Advertising For Wachovia Bank

New York, NY – May 15, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Wachovia Bank provided a reasonable basis for the claim that the bank “is obsessed customer service.” However, NAD recommended the bank modify or discontinue a television commercial that recounts the experiences of customer Joe Carta to avoid conveying the message that Wachovia provides a service that may not be typically available.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed broadcast advertising for the Wachovia pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.

The commercial at issue featured customer Joe Carta, who described how his Wachovia banker helped him on Christmas Day after his son – preparing for a Caribbean vacation – realized he’d left his passport in the family safe-deposit box.

Mr. Carta explains that he called his Wachovia banker, “Bonnie,” at home to ask for help.  He reports that “Bonnie and her team spent their holiday working on it” and that at 5:00 a.m. the next morning they opened the vault just for him.  Following the customer’s account, a voiceover states the following “At Wachovia, we’re absolutely obsessed with satisfying our customers.”  Mr. Carta then states that his son made his flight and declares, “I’m with Wachovia.”

NAD examined the express claim, “At Wachovia we are absolutely obsessed with satisfying our customers.” NAD examined also the implied claim that the service depicted is representative of a service a Wachovia customer can typically expect.

Following its review of evidence that included customer satisfaction surveys, NAD concluded that the bank had a reasonable basis for the claim, “At Wachovia we are absolutely obsessed with satisfying our customers.”  

NAD noted that while Wachovia’s objective claim of consumer service excellence is substantiated, with respect to the specific example of customer service, the materials submitted by the advertiser do not indicate that there is a company policy which requires or even suggests that employees should disrupt their family activities during a major holiday in order to retrieve a passport for a customer.  There is also no company policy requiring the banks’ branch manager to give their home telephone numbers to customers or to take calls from customers at home when they are off duty.

Consequently, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged commercial or modify it to clearly and conspicuously disclose that the scenario depicted in the Joe Carta spot is unusual, atypical or may depend on certain limitations.