300_MorganStanley.jpg(This is the second installment of what will now become a regular, if sporadic, feature on ANIMAL. The first investment bank advertising post was on a laughably ironic ‘liquid” ad by dried-up Lehman Brothers.). One thing investment banks have never ever been even remotely competent at is advertising (Now of course, we can add investing to the list.). Here, we have the latest puzzle of an advert from “world wise” Morgan Stanley (now 21% owned by Mitsubishi UFJ). So, can you spot the difference? The copy starts: “If you look closely, you’ll see one is a white-bearded goat and the other a balloon.” MS’s point is that this is how easy it is to differentiate between their electronic trading and others. Uh, well, that sure is some extraordinary worldly wiseness. So…are you guys the goat or the balloon? Are you suggesting that I invest in livestock? Rubber? You can view the equally inane second ad in the campaign—featuring a chess king and a piece of broccoli—here. This advertising strategy, I believe, provides some unintended transparency into why Morgan Stanley’s stock price has dropped 80% in the last year. (ad scanned from the latest issue of bi-weekly UK pub Financial News)