June 3rd, 2014

A ‘Docu-Ad’ Looks at Hardship of Those Without Bank Access

By STUART ELLIOTT
New York Times

REMEMBER the longtime pitch for Campbell’s Chunky soup, “the soup that eats like a meal”? A project that American Express is to introduce Wednesday can be described as a commercial that watches like a documentary. The commercial is styled and presented like an investigative nonfiction film that might be part of the “Frontline” series on PBS or a segment of “60 Minutes.” Titled “Spent: Looking for Change,” it runs almost 40 minutes and can be watched free online: on the YouTube channels of American Express and a digital news show, the Young Turks; on hulu.com; and on a special website, spentmovie.com. “Spent” has some big names behind it: Tyler Perry is the narrator and the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim is an executive producer, with Christopher Gebhardt of the Participant/Tag division of Participant Media, which handled the project for American Express.

“Spent” is meant as an exposé of the high costs of living outside the traditional financial system and seeks to make its case by following four families who are — in the parlance of those involved with the issue — unbanked or under-banked and must use alternatives like check-cashing services, payday lenders, pawn shops and car title lenders.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/04/business/media/a-docu-ad-looks-at-hardship-of-those-without-bank-access.html?_r=0

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