File this one under It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: To commemorate the merger of Bank of America and MBNA, employees Ethan Chandler and Jim DeBois were asked to write a song and perform it at a card-services division conference last summer.
The performance of the song (U2's "One," with the lyrics changed and renamed "One Bank") was not intended for public consumption. But, as is the case with so many questionable acts these days, a video of the song soon found its way onto YouTube and several other user-generated video (UGV) websites. Some lyrical highlights:
It is even better
Now that we're the same
Two great companies come together
Now MBNA is B of A
And there's one bank, one card, one name that's known all over the world
One spirit -- we get to share it,
Leading us all to higher stannnnndards ooooohhh ...
Do you like the Cowboys?
Or your university?
Do you like the Yankees?
Or is NASCAR more your speed?
Well it's your choice, your right
To pick a card that shows your heart and your pride ...
And our favorite:
And we've got Bank One on the run
What's in your wallet?
It's not Capitol One - it's us
And we'll make lots of money
And forever I can sing
About trusting and teamwork
And doing the right thing
And we'll live out our core values
While the competition crawls
'Cause they want what we have got
But it's only here at Bank of America ...
You know by now that your editors like to poke fun, but we do try to be fair. In our humble opinion, Chandler's voice is not bad (if a bit whiny), and some of the lyrics are kind of clever. But frankly, the idea of singing the praises of your mammoth company and dissing the competition curls our collective teeth. Other critics were not so kind.
"Wow that's really scary," one person commented on YouTube. "I'm cancelling my card right now!"
"This is SO WRONG!!!!" wrote another.
"Clearly, this is viral advertising put together by American Express," said another.
Our favorite: "The saddest part is this isn't the worst or cheesiest "musical" performance to ever occur at MBNA.
"Voluntary severance package -- lotsa $.
One+ year of pay/benefits -- lotsa $.
Never having to be subjected to Stepford sh** like this again -- priceless.
"Kudos to the fool that leaked this video. Be warned though -- they will find you."
But perhaps the cherry on the kick-me sundae was the cease-and-desist letter posted this week on the UGV website stereogum.com contending that Bank of America had violated Universal Music Publishing Group's copyright of the U2 song.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal via HeraldToday.com, The New York Times, YouTube