I was going to write about how we all need to take a breath when it comes to this whole Obamacare thing, but then JPMorgan decided to hijack the news cycle by pulling one of the biggest public relations fails in recent memory by deciding to hold a hashtag chat with Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee on Twitter at #AskJPM.
I can visualize the series of phone calls, meetings, power points, and oversize checks that led to the social media guy convincing the custom-suited brass of JPM in my mind. It’s full of corporate jargon and hot air – basically, not all that interesting. The problem here is that this is a strategy for a popular celebrity or a consumer product company, not a scandal-ridden bank that could easily be the country’s most hated corporation.
The hashtag quietly sat there for a few hours…and then went viral, becoming a trending topic, but nowhere near in the way JPMorgan intended, drawing what I can best describe as a galactic level of X-Pac Heat:
HuffPo, among lots of others, has some more good ones.
Facing an orgy of disdain, the bank did the obvious thing and cancelled the aforementioned Q&A. There’s certainly no good way to extricate yourself out of a cock-up of this magnitude, but their terse tweet didn’t do them any more favors.
The aforementioned social media guy has most certainly been sacked and Jon Stewart’s writers currently hate their lives, but the real takeway here is that people really hate JPMorgan. This isn’t the usual sort of hate levied publicly at company – McDonald’s failed with a similar stunt, but they mostly dealt with “your food sucks” instead of accusations of everything from open corruption of politicians to laundering money for drug cartels.
Will this materially affect the TBTF bank? Certainly not as much as the multi-billion dollar fines The public’s outright rejection of #AskJPM should be seen as a message of distaste for JPMorgan – and, almost certainly, other Too Big To Fail banks – something that politicians should be aware of going into 2014 and, since we’re talking about it already, 2016.