February 3, 2011

Bankstone News was somewhat taken aback this week to stumble upon a semi-pornographic image within the pages of a leading insurance trade publication… well, alright: Insurance People.

Within a dimly lit interior, a skimpily attired female perches poutily on a black leather sofa. She is casting a look of sultry disdain in the general direction of an antique black telephone on a small table nearby – a telephone she cannot answer as her hands are cuffed behind her back.

This disconcerting image turned out to be an advertisement for an organisation called Professional Insurance Agents. “Sell online 24/7,” it urged, “even when you can’t get to the phone.” It went on to encourage readers to “CALL PIA.” From the telephone box round the corner, presumably.

What was Bankstone News to make of this extraordinary full-page insertion? What was the shiny-nosed escort with the drugged-up eyes really trying to tell us? Not for the first time, Bankstone News was completely non-plussed.

Was this the latest symptom of the insurance industry’s misbegotten obsession with making itself more sexy – by any means necessary – or simply a shrewd marketing ploy by a company with the insight to see that the only thing that really interests so-called insurance professionals in the second decade of the twenty-first century is minimally clad women with lavishly applied make-up?

Consulting PIA’s website for clues, Bankstone News learned that “With the mixed worlds of the ‘wonder of technology vs. human being’ it is sometimes easy to forget traditional values – we won’t!”

Would these be traditional values like painting your office walls black, and keeping a call girl cuffed up on your Chesterfield?

PIA also claims to operate 60 websites offering an individual exclusive service including “live” video.

What can it all mean?


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