Morgan Stanley’s ‘Hunger Games’ Spoof — Why Consumers Should Be Offended

They never meant for it to reach the public. In fact, Morgan Stanley knew the Hunger Games parody they had created for their own management conference was such a disaster that they pulled it before it was even shown. And then it was leaked, and what was meant to be a humorous corporate take on the Hunger Games “kill to survive” premise has only proven to be a new checkmark in the “they just don’t get it” column of the U.S.’s financial elite.

The video entitled, “The Margin Games: Manager on Fire,” may be merely trying to use a light-hearted, pop culture tie in to help Morgan Stanley’s employees deal with their corporate issues and restructure. Instead, it plays out like a tale of every human resource person’s worst nightmare.

Like the Hunger Games, it follows Katniss Everdeen’s quest for survival. Of course, in this version, Katniss maneuvers through Morgan Stanley‘s cutthroat management program rather than actually fighting for her life.

Don’t worry. Just like the Hunger Games, Katniss is still handy with a weapon. Yes, you read that right. Morgan Stanley’s training video has one of their employees actually bumping off other employees to stay in the game. But that’s not why you should be offended.

And just like the Hunger Games, the tributes express frustration and anxiety over their roles in the games. Considering Morgan Stanley is America’s leading investment firm, it’s plausible that the fear and anxiety of their employees to perform well is real. But let’s not forget, the Hunger Games is about life and death at the hands of a manipulative leader, not unemployment. But that’s not why you should be offended either.

And though the first Hunger Games movie had a budget of $78 million, “The Margin Games” was able to put theirs together for the low price of approximately $100,000. That’s peanuts compared to the $7.8 billion Morgan Stanley reported in net profits for its fourth quarter last year.

And the fact that $100,000 for a throwaway film is about $30,000 higher than the average American family makes in a year? Well, that’s not why you should be offended either.

Here’s why should be offended. In 2008, Morgan Stanley received more than $107 billion from the government bailout program, the most of any other bank. That’s right, in the 2007 economic hunger games, our tax dollars were their silver parachute.

It is true that Morgan Stanley paid back these loans. And yes, it’s true that the company is now thriving. But with the making of “The Margin Games,” another truth has come to light.

Just like the Hunger Games, Morgan Stanley plays the role of the Capitol. It has shown that it still does not comprehend the plight of the average American worker. It does not understand that there is no humor in unemployment. It does not notice that one in four children live in poverty. And it continues to obliviously bask in the glow of its riches.

And that is why you should be offended.

If you want to see “The Margin Games” for yourself, it can be viewed exclusively at InvestmentNews. Personally, I’d save my time to watch The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 when it comes out on DVD next week. It’s easier to be sympathetic and root for that version of Katniss.

What do you think of this move by Morgan Stanley?

[Image courtesy of Business Insider]