An advertising campaign launched by video conferencing specialists PowWowNow has caused a bit of controversy. The adverts, which have been placed on the London Underground, have the character Cecil Goldwell, a fictional misogynist spendthrift banker at their heart. One of the adverts features a picture of Cecil with the accompanying quote ‘I like my coats mink, truffles white and my secretaries Swedish’. This particular ad has raised the ire of a few people, although PowWowNow said the ad was an irreverent look at attitudes of some businesspeople.
Cecil is seen as being the archetypal slime-ball banker: uncaring, out of touch, patronising towards women and reactionary. At this moment in time, many people believe that the current parlous economic situation was caused by people within the banking sector, which led to the company creating Cecil. The character has their own Twitter account, and is being heavily trailed on PowWowNow’s website.
What the character is meant to reflect is that people like Cecil are seen as having more money than sense. As PowWowNow offer a free service which is seen as being very useful for many companies who need to arrange big meetings with clients and workers who are at home or a long way away from the office in a hurry, they want to show that downloading this free service is perfect for companies looking to save money.
PowWowNow offer video conferencing facilities for free, and the creation of Cecil is meant to try and appeal to business owners and employees looking to save money at a time when savings are seen as being more significant than ever. The fact that one of the biggest expenses a business faces is for communicating with others through the internet and by phone means that free video conferencing is seen as a free, viable alternative which makes doing business from home and at work easy.