February 03, 2008

More Commercials

Before we get tonight’s round of new ‘Super’ commercials, I thought I’d talk a little about another commercial series that is stuck in my brain. The FREECREDITREPORT.com commercials.

Specifically, the ones with the guy singing about all the problems he has that could have been solved if he had gone to FREECREDITREPORT.com earlier.

They are (in the order that I saw them, not necessarily the order they were broadcast) The New Car, The Girlfriend, and the Pirate Restaurant.

The New Car.
(Summary – the main character wants to buy a car, has bad credit and get’s stuck with a junker.)

The Girlfriend.
(Summary – the main character marries his sweetheart but since she has bad credit, they can’t get a mortgage and have to live in her parent’s basement.)

The Pirate Restaurant.
(Summary – the main character has his identity stolen and therefore has to take a job dressed as a pirate in a restaurant.)

They do have one thing going for them. They’re all written with a catchy tune that stays with you forever… and ever, and ever. If you’re a commercial, and at the end, you’ve got your product’s name echoing over and over in potential customer’s heads. You’re doing something right.

And in that respect, these are pretty good adds. Catchy tune. Easy to remember product name.

The problem I have with them is that the commercials are of the ‘try to convince you to use the product’ variety. Not content with sticking an ear-worm song into my head, the lyrics try to tell me why I should use the product. And if you’re going to do that, you better use real logic.

The New Car: Ok. You don’t have good credit, so you can’t get a good car loan to buy that ‘phat’ ride you wanted. Instead, you end up with a used sub-compact. Fine. How does knowing your credit rating ahead of time change that? Sure, if you know about it far enough in advance, you could do something to change it. (ie. Build good credit, a long term process. But one worth doing.) But just knowing that you’ve got bad credit when you go to the car dealer isn’t going to get you a better loan.

And even if you do have bad credit, You don’t HAVE TO buy a car. If you can’t afford the car you want, you don’t have to buy a cheaper one. You can just not buy a car at all!

So while yes, you can get your credit report for free from the website, just knowing it doesn’t really help you that much. Unless all you want to know is why you got turned down for a loan.

The Girlfriend: Ok. You didn’t know your girlfriend had bad credit when you married her, so now you can’t buy a house. If you’d known she had bad credit, you’d never have married her? And even though, on your own you’d be able to afford a mortgage payment, with your combined incomes, you can’t afford rent? This commercial doesn’t make any sense on so many levels.

Aside from the confusion on how he’d pay a mortgage when they can’t pay rent, there is the questionable legality of looking up SOMEONE ELSE’S credit report without their knowledge or permission.

The Pirate Restaurant: I’m not really sure how having your identity stolen could make you wind up as a pirate in a restaurant, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. (The only thing I could think of is that when his identity was stolen, so was his bank account, so he didn’t have the money for college and ended up in a dead-end job…) Having someone monitor your credit for identity theft would be useful in preventing something like that from happening. Good. We’ve finally got a commercial that makes some sense in what it’s pitching.

Except… the credit monitoring is a paid subscription program. (It’s mentioned at the very end in the disclaimer) Hardly FREEcreditreport.com there is it?

OK. That’s my 2¢ on that.

Maybe next, I’ll talk about some of the new commercials from the Super Bowl…

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