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AIG Bailout

As I am sure you can guess, I am not happy with the bailout of AIG.  They are not being forced to feel the pain and so the dollar may feel the pain as a result.  This was a bad move.  Protect the policies but not the managers, they showed they do not deserve to money they earn.  Hey, so much for the “We Know Money” slogan!  Told you they didn’t get it.

Anyway, I am still waiting for the dust to settle to do the post analysis, of which I assure you will be worth the read.  The only one’s who were happy today were AIG employees who now get paid thanks to the bailout.  The markets drop of 450 points on top of the 500 earlier this week, shows nobody else is happy.

Since we own their butts, I would like to put in place a pay for performance salary policy and $7 an hour wages at AIG.  That way, we get our $85billion back faster before they benefit.  Once we get our money back they can go back to what they were making but not while my dime is paying for their stupidity.

I was right about their fall, trust me, if they screw us over, the dollar will fall and then who is going to bail us out?  Here’s a hint, nobody.  Do you think the Chinese, Russians or Europeans are going to help?  Don’t hold your breath.  Most would enjoy watching us go down.  Of course if we go, they go, but they dont’ see that until it already is too late. 

I’d also like to thank the AIG employees who come to my blog to the tune of 50 a day.  Since I’m your new boss, please get your ass back to work and stop surfing the net!

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Lessons from Today’s Market

I have been watching the markets for a while.  Having left financials a long time ago and not advocated them, I saw this company for a while.  Having lived through the dotcom bubble, I knew the signs and this has trouble written all over it 3 years ago. 

 

Today the market fell 500 points with big names going down.  A lot of these problems, not all, could have been avoided if we had not deregulated the financial services industry.  I’m not a big fan of big government but sometimes those regulations do help and I think if they had been in place, they would have helped to at least lessen the damages that we saw today.

 

Paulsen doesn’t seem to be concerned with fixing the problem just maintaining things until who ever comes in next.  Hopefully we will learn our lesson from this that sometimes, tempered growth is not all that bad.  Sure, we saw a lot of wealth made after dereg but a lot has vanished as a result.

 

Wall Street has acted like a kid in a candy store and I do remember when this was happening to other industries they said “let them go down, let the market determine who survives.”  So I am not all that happy with bailouts, after all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  If Wall Street firms made bad choices let them fail, after all, they should know how to manage money better than they have shown.  They certainly have shown that they are not deserving of the high salaries and perks they heap upon themselves.  So let them fail.  The real engine of America, the small and medium size companies, will go on and continue to produce jobs and that is who we should be helping.  The people who actually create jobs.

 

I think main street is where the real action is for growth in this country and if anyone needs a bail out or stimulus deal, it is main street.  Hopefully someone in Washington will figure that out and start helping the real economic powerhouse of America.  Wall Street, let it purge, it needs it more than a bailout.

 

 

 

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AIG Sinks Again

Can you hear the splashing of water?  That’s AIG trying to stay afloat, reaching a new low of $4 a share.  Wow! 

 

So AIG is seeking some relief, the feds are in and even Cramer was saying we should help AIG because of the insurance policies.  Yeah, save the policies, not the company.  The government should look at bailing out the policy holders, not AIG.  After all, AIG is the one who screwed up, not the policy holders!  So why help AIG who has proven it doesn’t know money.

 

Look, before AIG gets help, it can help itself by doing a few simple cost cutting measures. 

 

  1. Eliminate all perks, no corporate housing, no cars, cut back on everything and anything.  You’d be amazed what you can save when you do that.

 

  1. Cut salaries by 50%, I know, drastic, but not like you got a lot of options right now. 

 

  1. Sell off assets.  Lets face is, someone will buy up prime divisions, why not make some money and give investors an out, after all that’s your charter.

 

These simple measures would save the company in the short term, long enough to help what is left to move up again.  But I am sure as usual, they will want a bailout, the feds are involved so you that’s on the table.  I say no to a bailout.  Investors get hosed and management gets away with murder!  Management needs to be the first ones to feel the hurt, that is in the interest of investors, put a flame under their ass and get them to work for their money.  Pay for performance should be implemented.  You want that six figure salary, put up the numbers!  That will trim the fat real fast. 

 

AIG should go the way of Lehman’s and then let the feds step in and save the policies.  Management at all levels has not done their job and should not be saved.

 

BTW, thanks everyone for visiting, a new one day high was reached today.

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AIG’s “Special Call”

So AIG is having an analyst call on Monday.  Word on the street is, they are going to say everything is just fine, don’t worry about the fact the stock has dropped like a rock to $11 mid day Friday, a drop of about half the value.  This is what Bear Sterns and Lehman’s did and look what happened to them.

 

Unlike Bears, I don’t think AIG is too big to fail; there is a big difference here between Fannie and Freddie or even Bears and AIG.  AIG is a collection of companies under one roof, not truly a company unified as one entity.  In fact, AIG has two options, raise capital, which I don’t think is a smart idea if you are an investor or sell off assets.

 

Frankly I’m for the break up of AIG; it is too big and has too much fat and too many people getting paid a lot of money to do nothing of much value.  Taking away the perks and the corporate pork by breaking the company up into smaller ones will make the better parts, stronger investments for those willing to invest.  Having seen how some of those divisions work, I wouldn’t hire them for my team, they sit around too much, at least the management level.  It is a recipe for poor performance.  When the markets were good, so was AIG, this is when you see the real metal of a company and they are failing.  Really the stock is a reflection of this stagnation management style.  Sure the workers in many divisions are good but the management is not and who calls the shots, not the workers.  So some think this is a blip, no, going from $60 to$11 is not a blip.  I said this before, there are some serious fundamentals wrong with this company and they are not fixing them just putting their head in the sand and pretending they don’t exist.  That is not going to help, so break up the company, it’s the best option for investors to get some gains out of this. 

 

Of course odds are that management will fight this course of action tooth and nail but it is the more logical point of view for the investor, to break the company up and reap the profits.  The fact is, AIG is so big and spread out that in down markets like this where financials are getting hit hard, AIG’s diversity works against it.  As a corporation, it needs to think about the investor, what’s best for investors is clarity, sell off divisions and make it clear what business AIG is in.  Until then, every negative hit to financials, AIG is going to feel.

 

BTW, thanks to AIG for breaking the one day corporate record on this blog.  In a 24 hour period, you had more hits than any other corporation to this blog.  I didn’t realize your marketing being so bad was such a hot topic.  I was just skimming the surface, I was thinking of actually showing you how to fix it, but why give you something for nothing, not like your stock is worth zero, yet.

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AIG Stock and Marketing Connection

Here and on message board, for two years I said AIG was going down.  I predicted $30 per share; it’s been in the low $20’s for a few months now.  Back when I said it was going down, it was in the $60’s and way over priced in my opinion.  Something that I find interesting is how, as the stock price goes down, the amount of marketing AIG does, has gone up.  Is there is a connection?

 

As I said two years ago in a previous post (you can do a search and find it on here), marketing isn’t going to save AIG, especially with the commercials they have going on right now.  This series in which they use kids, I don’t know who came up with that but it’s in the running for the worst ad campaign of the year!  I could get a couple of sugar buzzed high school kids to brain storm better ads.  Nobody sits there and say “oh, honey how cute!  That little kid is talking insurance and financial needs, let gets some AIG products!”  The commercials are just so off base.  The kids ramble on, you know they have no clue what they are saying, just reading a script and it mono tone.  Just bad all around and I’m sure they are not seeing an ROI on these ads that justify the expense.

 

 

 

Then you have AIG American General, ok, a little better but still just nonsense.  This commercial catch attention for 5 seconds, then, mass ADD kicks in and we zone out and focus on something else.

 

 

 

 

As I said in my previous post, marketing isn’t going to save you AIG because you don’t get marketing!  The only commercial series with potential is these facts commercials like this one.

 

 

 

 

It’s nice, good work on the crew that did the filming, I like it.  But AIG misses the punch.  It’s like, yeah, adds 8 years to my life, and what’s that have to do with you AIG?  Nothing as far as I can tell because you don’t make the connection and I’m not doing your job and doing it for you.  So nice graphics, bad follow through. 

 

I think AIG is so close to their own products (or totally clueless, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) that they can’t tell, the rest of us don’t sit around thinking about their products all day, we have a life and insurance is a side issues in our lives.

 

So AIG, since I know you come to visit my blog any time I post about you, here’s my challenge, I can fix your marketing, if you guys actually want marketing that works instead of just pretending to do marketing, here’s my email: Edward@echenard.com.  Seriously, since you are here reading this, why not figure out how to make money with your marketing because I can tell you have not caught up to the times in marketing.  $40 lose in share price proves that, so seriously, send me an email and chat.

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The Van Gods

I have to say I like this commercial, maybe because I used to listen to that song when I was younger. I know that there has been a lot of talk in the marketing circles about this commercial and if it hit the mark or not. There are too many factors in the market to say if it has or not, but the elements of the commercial are interesting.

You have a song from 1977 and references to the 70’s pop culture. The target market for such cars has been the soccer Mom. Now only those over 30 are going to get the references in the commercial, anyone under 30 probably doesn’t get it. So already they lost a good portion of their market.

Plus the elements in play, I don’t know of today’s soccer Mom’s want to remember the 70’s “Van God” or be associated with them. The husband might be another story.

Either way, I give Honda credit; it’s a creative commercial for something that is generally extremely boring. Who pays attention to mini van commercials anymore, and yet there is more buzz on this one commercial than has probably been generated by all of the commercials on mini vans in the last 5 years. So, Honda got something with this, it got buzz.

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