In celebration of the upcoming FTC-mandated drastic changes to “free” credit report advertising and web sites, public radio program Marketplace located the actor and musician who serves as the public face of FreeCreditReport.com in its horrifically catchy ads. That’s when they discovered something that, as they put it, means you will never look at the ads the same way again. The singing spokesdude, Eric Violette, is actually a pretty talented musician, but he isn’t the man singing the jingle. See, the commercials were cast and filmed in Montreal, and Violette has a distinct French accent.
Yes. He’s Canadian. Which is merciful in a way, because it means that when he walks down the street in Montreal, no one has any idea who he is….unless they’re visiting from America.
Imagine there’s a line drawn in the dirt about two hours from your house. Cross it and everything goes haywire. People stop Eric on the street in America and ask for his autograph. They want pictures with him. At one point he made the mistake of going to Mardi Gras.
Violette: And when people recognize me they were obviously pretty drunk. So they were louder than, I don’t know…. It was like, “Hey that’s the FreeCreditReport.com guy!” So everybody like … Foom! Turn their head.
Seriously, listen to the story. You won’t be sorry.
As part of the CARD Act, the FTC requires that the ads and (crucially) Web sites for not-so-free credit report services disclose that they are a paid service, not the free annual credit report that all Americans are entitled to. Web sites must change on April 2, and TV and radio advertising on September 1.
Hey, it’s the Free Credit Report guy! [Marketplace]