Video urges consumers to turn junk mail into bank protest
A provocative YouTube video about turning junk mail into a protest against big banks is generating lots of buzz.
But from what I'm seeing, this "easy, free and nonviolent way to drive the banks out of their greedy little minds" may have a somewhat different appeal than its creator expected.
ABC News has identified the well-groomed young man in the video as Artie Moffa, a San Francisco poet and SAT tutor.
In the video, Moffa urges consumers to use the business reply mail envelopes we receive in unsolicited credit card ads to send a message back to the bank.
You can write whatever you want on whatever you choose to enclose.
"Hello big bank clerk, please join a union," is one suggestion from the young provocateur.
Moffa also recommends putting your message on something heavy like wood shims so that the envelope weighs more and will run up the banks' postage bill.
But he says that costing the banks a few bucks is not the point.
"The real point of this is to get the banks to react to us," he says. "And every hour banks spend reacting to us is an hour banks don't spend lobbying Congress on how to screw us. It's an hour banks don't spend foreclosing on our houses."
But that’s not what had my friends literally running for the mailbox and digging through recycling bins over the weekend.
After watching this video they had a slightly less sweeping and socially charged message they wanted to send the big banks.
They just want the banks to stop sending them one unwanted credit card application after another.
Creating an endless stream of junk mail is one of the most annoying things big banks do, and I can't understand why they keep it up.
JPMorgan Chase wages the most relentless assault on my mailbox.
If I didn't respond to the first 35 solicitations for a Chase Sapphire card, does anyone at the bank really think I'm going to see the error of my ways and fill out the 36th application that arrives in my mailbox?
How hard would it be for someone to program the computer to stop wasting everyone's time and cut me off from all further Sapphire solicitations?
If I have succumbed to years of Chase relentlessly promoting "2 FREE FLIGHTS" (it's always capitalized like that) for new holders of its Southwest Airlines credit card, is it reasonable to think I'll change my mind now?
I recognize that I'm a great credit card customer. I understand why Chase would want me to ditch my Citi and Bank of America credit cards.
But why would any business want to cross the line between responsible advertiser and giant annoyance to its potential customers?
Chase crossed that line with me a long, long time ago, and judging by the reaction I saw to this video, lots of banks have done so with lots of other potential customers.