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Capital One's ‘Hand in My Pocket' Ads Reach Much Music Bullet

By: Jeremy Gutsche - Published: • References: trendhunter
Late last year, Capital One Canada launched its "Hands in my Pocket" advertising campaign to promote its low rate credit cards. The Hands in My Pocket song is base on the premise that the Big 5 Canadian banks constantly have their 'hands in the consumer's pocket'. The ads feature Canadians doing every day activities, jogging, dancing, and playing tennis with a banker holding his hand in their pockets. In just 5 weeks, the catchy "Hands in My Pocket" jingle has been picked up by TSN sports commentary, anti-Liberal election protests, the CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce, multiple Canadian Newspapers, released as a full length single, and modified into a viral ad with the Canadian Prime Minister's head super-imposed on the banker (shown).

Why do Hands in My Pocket ads make so much sense in Canada? In Canada, the credit card market is dominated by a powerful oligopoly of 5 major banks. These banks, known as the Big 5, typically price their cards at rates around 20% (much higher than rates seen in the U.S.). As a result, resentment is driving Canadians towards Capital One's low rate credit cards. In 2004, Capital One launched a 5.99% low rate credit card that was the lowest rate in the country. More interestingly, the rate was 14 percentage points BELOW the typical rate of a Canadian credit card. Accordingly, the Hands in My Pocket campaign is very effective.

Within a week of the launch, the Much Music Bulletin Boards were already starting to fill with users wondering how to find the music: "There is a new commercial on that plays a song that is in my head...wondering if anybody knows. I believe it is a MasterCard commercial and the song goes "Hands in your pockets, hands in your pockets" and there are all these shots of a a guy running, a guy dancing, a guy playing tennis with a business mans hand in his back pocket. The tune is catchy. Anybody know?" - MuchMusic Boards

The songs were actually written specifically for Capital One by a Toronto composer named Jim Guthrie for Rosnick MacKinnon Webster. Following the popular demand for the song, Jim Guthrie released a full length version of the song: You can download the Hands in My Pocket MP3 at Jim Guthrie's website: www.jimguthrie.org/news.php.

During the 2006 Canadian election, anti-Liberal protesters adopted the song on parliament hill, singing "Hands in My Pocket, Hands in My Pocket" in reference to the Liberal Government's tax policies. Later, a version of the Hands in Pocket at was modified with then-Prime Minister Paul Martin's head super imposed on the head of the banker. The modified viral ad was forwarded all over the net, making the Capital One ads even more popular. Check out the ad here: LINK

This was made even more popular when CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy news update reported: “the Liberal campaign received a boost today after Paul Martin was asked to be the guy in the Capital One ads”

TSN Sportscasters began using the term, jokingly referring to players that seemed like they had their Hands in their Pockets.

On Tuesday January 17, The Ottawa Citizen reported: "None of our readers offered up $20 million to rename the Corel Centre, as the people from Scotiabank did. However, an opinion has no such price tag -- no price tag at all, in fact -- and our readers gave us no shortage of suggestions on what they would like to see the arena called."

It will be interesting to see what they do in their next round of the ads.

The below video shows a spoof from the Rick Mercer Report.