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Will There be an Occupy Wall Street Debit Card in Your Wallet?

Hal Bienstock  Follow

OCCUPY-popupLast week, The New York Times reported on the launch of the Occupy Wall Street debit card.

If you had to read that twice, you had the same reaction I did. After all, what could be more incongruous than the Occupy Wall Street name being used to push product, especially a financial services product?

But reading further, some of the goals seem to be aligned. The card does seem to offer relatively low fees. And if it’s truly the first step in what its creators say will be a cooperative that offers loans and other services to people who may not have access to traditional banks, who could argue with the value of that? On the other hand, when the card is marketed as representing “a protest with every purchase,” you have to wonder whether they’re taking things several steps too far.

All of this represents the benefits and dangers of brands aligning themselves with movements. Even when the product is a good fit, it’s easy to go a little overboard. As always, the best course is for brands to be transparent about what they are and what they’re not. If the card was created in response to Occupy Wall Street, and its creators believe it can benefit many of the people the movement said it was fighting for, that’s a great story to tell. There’s no reason to take it further and pretend you’re sticking it to the man every time you swipe. End of Story Photo courtesy: Labour LLC

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