Friday, April 15, 2011

Saluting Securities Certificates

Merrill Lynch's one-column ads were a financial marketing fixture in the years when The Greatest Generation was building wealth. Few had better copy than this example from 1961. You have to love a marketing message that begins by using "cachet," "cache" and "cash" in the same sentence, proceeds to take a swipe at conspicuous consumption, then salutes the sensuous appeal of stock and bond certificates:
There's something irresistible about the crackle of their banknote paper, the comfortable conventionality of their vignettes, the way they pay regular interest and dividends.
The next sentence alone should have earned the copywriter a bonus:
Investing in sound securities has always been "the thing to do" and probably always will be, since it combines – uniquely, we believe – self-interest with the public interest, enabling the investor to profit from helping to finance the development and expansion of industry.
Alas, stock and bond certificates are largely a relic of the pre-digital age. But they still have appeal. This collectible Pixar certificate, issued the day before Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios on May 5, 2006, carries a $395 price tag at

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