WaMu Chase merger

5 May 2009

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’: The Post-WaMu Chase Blues

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Guy Who Likes Brands With Personalities…

So my longtime bank, Washington Mutual (WaMu), recently got taken over by megabank Chase. ‘Twas a sad day for us WaMulians, because for all its faults — and it had a few — WaMu was a friendly place to bank, with everything from chirpy messages on the ATMs to free candy at the teller windows. What wasn’t to like?

WaMu was expanding rapidly nationwide without losing its character, but WaMu’s execs decided to join the greedheads in quaffing some subprime Kool-Aid. We all know what happened after that: with WaMu on the verge of failure, along came a monster of the financial deep, Chase, to swallow it up.

the good ol' days...

The other day my wife and I strolled into a Chase branch, and it was like entering the tomb of the unknown banker. WaMu’s bright yellow had been covered in deep corporate blue, and the flamboyant posters that once hyped WaMu’s services had been replaced by… blank wall. The tellers who once wore casual shirts were now suited up.

We guessed all this was to convey how solid and dependable our bank had become — but, uh, yo, East Coast dweebs, we’re all like laid-back Los Angelenos, you know? And we still vividly remember how your Wall Street was like totally screwed up and over by men in conservative suits — men whose enormous badness made those Somali pirates look like shoplifters, right?

So instead of instilling us with confidence, Chase’s ultra-corporate vibe just depressed us, and we couldn’t wait to leave the premises. Sorry, teller dude, but no thanks, we don’t have time to discuss your credit card offer…

Most striking of all was the silence.

It was like being in the public library of the undead. We felt compelled to whisper. And that’s when we realized there was no more pop music playing over the speakers, as there always had been in WaMu. Yes, the day when WaMu became Chase was also the day the music died.

In honor of this transformation, I’ve penned some new lyrics to a classic pop song that will no longer be heard in our bank. So with apologies to the Righteous Brothers and their hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, here’s a little ditty I call “The Post-WaMu Chase Blues”…

When you bought WaMu
you said everything would stay the same
Then you spent 300 million
to redecorate and change the name

You took a big happy braaaand
Then Chase-y, you done made it so blaaaand…

You lost that WaMu feeling
You’re now just walls and a ceiling
And that is so unappealing
The fun is gone… it’s… wrong… whoohoo-not

Now your tellers wear suits
and no music ever fills the air
Your vibrant colors are gone
and your once postered walls are bare

It makes us all feel like snoozing
Oh Chase-y, don’t you know what you’re losing?

You lost that WaMu feeling
You’re now just walls and a ceiling
And that is so unappealing
The fun is gone… it’s… wrong… whoohoo-not

Chase-y, Chase-y, we still have all our savings with you
If you would only please us — at least tease us — like WaMu used to do
You had a brand… so grand… that millions of us came to adore
And now… somehow… you think “trustworthy” means being a bore

Oh Chase-y (Chase-y), Chase-y (Chase-y)
We beg you please… please
Give us WaMu (give us WaMu)
We miss WaMu (we miss WaMu)
So bring it on back (so bring it on back)
Bring it on back (so bring it on back)

Bring back that WaMu feeling
Its loss has sent us reeling
Our souls are now congealing
‘Cause your brand… is… cold…
and it feels… so… old…
And we’re totally… not… sold…

Whoohoo-NOT.

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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