March 24th, 2009
01:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Banking firm Smith Barney offered some good advice

Obama apparently liked the famous Smith Barney ad campaign.

Obama apparently liked the famous Smith Barney ad campaign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Wall Street banks aren't the most popular institutions at the moment, but President Obama thinks one investment firm used a slogan that all Americans can live by.

In a session with regional reporters yesterday, the president knocked the financial sector, in particular AIG, for helping to create a bubble over the last decade based on artificial prices and growth. Now that the bubble has burst, he said, workers might want to heed the advice of Smith Barney's famous ad campaign from the 1980s.

"And so we've got to go back to that old Smith Barney ad that said, 'We make money the old-fashioned way - we earn it,'" Obama said, according to a transcript from the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Well, we've got to go back to economic growth of the old-fashioned sort by making things and providing new services that hadn't been provided before."

The brokerage firm's advertising campaign, which ran in the 1980s and helped elevate the firm's profile, featured British actor John Houseman, who signed off each spot with the mantra: "Smith Barney. They make money the old-fashioned way. They earn it."

Smith Barney has gone through a series of mergers over the years and is now known as Citi Smith Barney - a subsidiary of CitiGroup, the troubled bank now owned, in part, by the U.S. government.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Just another American

    It's not so much we need more regulation as much as it's about following the regulations that are already in place. Bush & Chenney got a little to involved "helping out" with the deregulation process. Bring back the "uptick rule" and don't trust Wall Street to police themselves. Because they won't, it's not profitable.
    Thanks Smith Barney for having a great slogan!

    March 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Rich

    Smith Barney, part of Citigroup, a major recipient of TARP money and an ethically challenged firm. A perfect Democrat firm, starting with Bob Rubin of Citicorp.

    March 24, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. yuri

    Anything to engage in an endeavor to enlarge the prospects of extricatin' us from this economic conundrum.

    March 24, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. no corporate politics

    Big Financial Corporations (like lobbys) have paid Obama – why shouldn't they try to tell him what to do?

    March 24, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Paul

    Maybe that would be a good idea for Obama to require of all Americans. Then all of the social programs would not be needed.

    March 24, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. W Smith

    More like they made money the old-fashioned way, they _stole_ it. Because that's how it's really been done for millennia.

    March 24, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Dave

    I seem to remember it as "At Smith Barney, we make our money the old fasioned way, we churn it", churn, of course, being the term for unnecessary transactions that are for the purpose of bloating commissions.

    March 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. joe smith

    now that the government owns the banks, does that mean, the new government employees, have the same retirement as do our Senators/ more SSI, whew, now that is a job looking into..

    March 24, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |