Thursday, March 11, 2021

I'm a Character from a Chinese Advertisement

When we lived in China, I'd have to go once a month to the bank to transfer money to our U.S. bank account. Instead of standing in line, you tell a receptionist what you need to do and they give you a number for the particular teller that specializes in that type of transaction. Then you sit in airport chairs until your number is called and you watch a TV that is running a loop of ads for the bank.

That's how I came to be very familiar with this particular ad for China Construction Bank (which, incidentally, is an especially-suspect bank in a country full of suspect banks). The ad was for CCB's mobile app. In the ad, various CCB customers would check their bank balances throughout the day at random times. Each time they look at their phones and then nod slowly with smug looks on their faces. Settle into the back seat of your company car and check your bank accounts. Wake up and brush your teeth and check your bank accounts. Sit down for lunch and check your bank accounts. And don't forget to slowly nod about how awesomely your accounts are doing.

I remember thinking, "Who checks their accounts so frequently?" Depending on how many foreign-transfer tellers were working, I'd sometimes have to watch the ad dozens of times. I was certain that I would never be one of these bank-app fools that constantly checked on my accounts.

About a year ago I opened a brokerage account, and a few weeks ago I began holding some cryptocurrencies. The brokerage account takes some time to execute transactions, so I find that I check several times a day to see if a transaction has gone through yet so I can do the next step with the funds. Which means I am frequently checking my banking app at random times. The only thing that is missing is the smug nod.

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