The FTC's videos, which parody the FreeCreditReport.com ads, don't have the same glossy production values. The lead actor is less camera-friendly. The songs kind of suck—with clunky lyrics and boring harmonic concepts. But cut these guys a break: The advertising budget for FreeCreditReport.com was more than $70 million in 2007 and probably even higher in 2008. The annual budget of the entire FTC is less than $260 million.
The two FTC spots—which between them cost $100,000 to produce—have been released only on the Web. According to Nat Wood, assistant director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, these days it's far more efficient to distribute PSAs online than to try to get them on television. "It's very tough to get PSAs on the air in prime time, where people will see them," says Wood. "Most of what you see in the prime hours are things like 'The More You Know' campaign, which the network produces itself, on issues it chooses, cross-promoting its own stars."
I salute the FTC's thrifty, new-media strategy. I also applaud their message. That's why I'm reposting their videos here, in an effort to further their cause.
And that's … one to grow on!
Grade: B+. Kudos to the FTC for fighting the good fight. Deductions for severe aesthetic lameness. By the way, there's something I've never understood about the FreeCreditReport.com ads: How exactly would the guy's circumstances change if he'd known in advance that his credit was bad? Until he repairs his credit, he'll still get negged on that car loan for a "cool convertible." And, unless he's a cold and heartless person, you'd expect him to stay with his self-professed "dream girl" even after discovering that her credit was less than stellar. If I ever get him as my waiter at the local pirate restaurant, I'm going to ask him about this.
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