FTC Launches Own Singing Credit Report Commercials

As we’ve said repeatedly, AnnualCreditReport.com is the good website to go to when you need to pull a credit report, because it’s actually free. The others, including freecreditreport.com, use the promise of free the way an angler fish uses its forehead-worm-thing to trap dumb little fish. The FTC has decided to fight fire with fire by releasing its own jingles. To be honest, we’re not 100% sold on them—they have kind of a squaresville, PBS vibe, which is gonna really hamper their viral power. Check them out below.


Restaurant
The better of the two, because parents watching from the bar and ladies getting jig with it are at least amusing.

Apartment


We think the FTC should have tapped Venida Evans to help them out. You probably know her as the hallucination who encourages people to do things in those IKEA spots about mental illness. Imagine her standing next to a lad at the PC, warning him to not sign up at freecreditreport.com. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here she is turning a vulnerable, lonely housewife against her own child:



Free Reports [FTC]

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  1. DarthVegan says:

    Yay for FTC free reports. Only got the Experian one to work I couldn’t recall my password on the first one and the third one kept asking me to sign up….no you knob, just show my report. Sheesh.

  2. Razorgirl says:

    At this point I think most consumers would agree that where credit and credit scores are involved we don’t need any more jingles. Perhaps a good dirge would be more appropriate.

  3. ThinkerTDM says:

    Is it just me, or does he look stoned to the gills?

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @ThinkerTDM: agreed.
      oh, and why doesn’t the FTC use a .gov (or other restricted-use tld) to set them apart from the “other” sites?

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I am kind of curious though that they’re wearing kilts… aren’t those predominately a Scottish tradition, no?

    • CFinWV says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Yea, that had me confused.

    • floraposte says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: Predominantly, yes. They do get worn in some Irish regiments, and there are some traditional tartans for a ew Ulster (Scots origin) families, and some wearing by Irish pipers in ceremonial occasions. It’s more common in Irish-American stuff, especially the girls doing Irish dance, as in this commercial.

      So yeah, sometimes, but to me it falls under the heading of “costume” more than “custom.”

  5. skatanic says:

    I think the second one is the better of the two. It seems to have more information and takes more jabs at freecreditreport.

  6. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    No, “Apartment” is the far better of the two because it has the word “free” mentioned in the jingle, “Restaurant” doesn’t, a serious mistake!

  7. floraposte says:

    Maybe they’re trying for a certain poker-faced ironic squareness? I dunno.

    I don’t think the approach is likely to be helpful. A long song isn’t great at conveying information (the freecredit folks use it to tell an actual story that carries the message, not just to convey a message), and it’s similar enough that I think some people will think it’s a competing service, not a warning from the feds about your rights.

    I think they could have used the funny but essentially acted it out as a drama, with the fake credit report folks being chased off by the real, government approved one. Make the point visually, not just tucking it into a ballad.

  8. ekzachtly says:

    Squaresville and PBS is right. If I didn’t know the first thing about checking my credit report, I’d start to think maybe there’s something that this website is trying to make up for.

    It feels like those high fructose corn syrup commercials to me.

  9. Yankees368 says:

    Yeesh! Those jingles are just awful. I don’t think you will find any of your friends humming “annualcreditreport.com is the site you can depend on”

  10. edwardso says:

    I do love the IKEA spokesperson, mostly because she doesn’t judge

  11. NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I don’t like these for a number of reasons.

    First of all, they bear too close a resemblence to FreeCreditRipoff.com commercials. I couldn’t find the newest one which looks like the first(not the pirate one, but they reference it in the commercial)
    The second looks like this one, down to the clothes:

    A lot of people just buzz by commercials on Tivo/DVR/etc… If you make a commercial look like another, people will just assume that this is a commercial they have already seen. There should be a central logo, which there isn’t, so it’s really tough for people not “in the know” to even pay attention. At least flash free where people will be looking.

    Second, it’s not catchy enough. I think most of us can do a freecreditripoff.com commercial off the top of our head, or can at least sing along when it comes on. This is just like singing War&Peace. Yeah, it’s to a beat, but doesn’t mean I will pay attention.

    Or maybe it’s just me.

    • Rachacha says:

      @NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave: Perhaps the FTC will air the commercials, and then “pressure” freecreditreport.com to stop running their advertisements because they are confusing to the consumer.

      The videos and the FTC Press release [www.ftc.gov] also sends a VERY clear message to freecreditreports.com that they are in the FTC’s sites and that they need to be very careful about what they do.

      Just speculation on my part.

  12. Bill Wohlgamuth says:

    I’m actually partial to this spoof:


    + Watch video

  13. calquist says:

    Yes, let’s confuse the public even more. This just screams bad idea to me.

  14. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    I declare this commercial a win because a hour later my brain is still humming the tune and saying “annual credit report dot com … hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm … annual credit report dot com … hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm … “

    Now it can stop!

  15. Nathan Oliver says:

    What I’ve always wondered is why they didn’t put it at a .gov address. Then I could just tell everyone that if the site isn’t at .gov, it’s not legit.

    That way, the message would never have to change, and they can guarantee that no website will ever pick up a one-off address or things like that, as well.

    • Rachacha says:

      @Nathan Oliver: because people are stupid and they think that EVERY website ends in “.com”. What is worse is when you go to a .GOV address and it re-directs to a.COM address (as is the case for several government websites intended for federal employees.

  16. econobiker says:

    Why not require the freecreditreport scum to say “PURCHASE” instead of enrollment in triple advantage (garbage).

    Or why not declare eminent domain (indeed!) and take away freecreditreport.com from the idiots…

  17. explosivo2k2 says:

    The whole credit score situation is maddening. I have good credit, but I’d like to be able to see my credit report/score whenever I want for free. I like the fact that the FTC forced the 3 major bureaus into publishing the reports once a year. But the FICO score should be included (I realize it’s a different company).

    Anyway, annualcreditreport.com is jointly operated by the 3 bureaus ([en.wikipedia.org]). And FreeCreditReport.com is actually run by Experian ([en.wikipedia.org]). So who paid for the ACR commercials? The FTC?

    These commercials should have been clearer about what they are saying. Maybe do a 10-second parody, then have an announcer tell you that FCR.com is a scam and that ACR.com doesn’t charge you anything..

  18. CFinWV says:

    @floraposte: Even with the over the shoulder sash? I was told that was the Scottish way to wear it. Oh well, no biggie.

  19. ajlei says:

    The last Ikea commercial I saw was her in someone’s bedroom, and it was creepy as hell. So yeah, I totally get the idea of putting her in a commercial. She’d make anyone do anything.

  20. ajlei says:

    And of course I can’t edit my last comment or reply directly to it… but by “her” I meant Venida Evans.

    *facepalm*

  21. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    @floraposte: Girls don’t wear kilts… so those are just dresses – traditional or not that I can understand, I was more talking about the men.

  22. kiltman says:

    Regarding the “over the shoulder” part of the kilt. That is a very traditional part. I personally have what is called a fly plaid, a separate piece of cloth that pins on the chest and falls over the shoulder and reaches to the bottom of the kilt. The tartan matches my kilt and I wear it only on special occasions (my wedding). The original kilts usually wrapped around the waist and went up over the shoulder and back down again (all one piece)

  23. savdavid says:

    IKEA is a copy of the Matrix oracle. Not very original.

  24. 1stMarDiv says:

    I was one of the people who used freecredit report, but I did the smart thing and cancelled before they could bill me. Haven’t heard from them since, and I was able to spot an inaccuracy that dropped my score over 100 points.

  25. hmk says:

    Yeah those men’s outfits certainly look scottish, even though the girls are definitely Irish dancing. The Irish wear kilts. The sash strikes me though.

  26. ironchef says:

    They need to force those stupid agencies to give out a REAL CREDIT SCORE.