Sub-Standard Mea Cupla?


McGraw-Hill and Standard and Poor’s have been around for a long time. The former is best known as a publishing company, the latter a credit rating company. McGraw-Hill owns Standard and Poor’s. For those not in-the-know about the financial world S&P isn’t a company you think about often.

Today I read a fairly benign ad by S&P in which it touted its people, purpose, practices and progress.  Depicting young to middle aged people, so we get the company is not run by 60 and 70 year olds (not that there’s anything wrong with it), the ad is quite unremarkable. The headline reads: “4 things you should know about Standard and Poors ratings.”    Why, why, why would anyone stop and read such an ad? Except me.

I read the whole thing and the last para said “We’ve taken to heart the lessons learned during the financial crisis, improving the methodologies behind our ratings.”  Hard stop. No more copy. It got me thinking —Who was behind the wheel in this ratings company when banks, mortgage companies, car companies and other goobers were turning the country on its ear with bad debt?  Were these poorly run, insolvent companies receiving triple D or E or Z ratings? What kind of watchdog let this happen?

If this ad is a mea culpa, it doesn’t work. Not with one sentence hidden at the end of the ad.  What happened? Do tell. If you want to help your brand strap on a pair of editorials and let us know.