Bad Ad

I am in a writing phase; I don’t want to go out so I’ve been sending A out to get food and supplies while I write. One thing that I need is a constant supply of Coke and the second thing I need is background noise. The History Channel happens to be on now, and an ad just came on that completely ripped me from my writing trance.

“We Americans believe everyone should play by the rules,” a voice said. I glanced up to see some “Americans” who are “playing by the rules” – basically decontextualized images of blue-collar workers and a middle-aged woman gardening. “But what if your broker doesn’t?” asked the disembodied narrator.

Oh no.

“That’s when you turn to the financial industry regulatory authority. Empowered by the federal government, we protect investors from fraud and bad practices. Last year, we barred hundreds of brokers from the industry and returned two billion dollars to investors. To learn more, visit”


I don’t like this at all. I get creeped out when regulatory agencies start advertising. Furthermore, I do not believe the financial industry is crawling with unscrupulous frauds.

I think these kinds of gimmicky ads do more harm than good; they make people scared. Our financial stature is tenuous now. It relies on people to spend, to trust. With these ads, distrust is amplified, and the problems grow.

Also, I think these ads have the unintended consequence of making me distrust the agency advertising. If the Texas Bar Association published ads stating that you can trust the lawyers, that lawyers are ethical but that if not, we’ll punish them, I would wonder just what the heck is going on in the legal system.

Gives me a chill. I need to stop watching television.

About these ads


  1. Here’s a more creative approach to a “public service” ad….several years ago, SEC (I think it was) put up a fake website advertising some scammy “investments”…something along the lines of “senior gold-back debentures with guaranteed interest of 16% weekly.” When someone clicked the “invest now” button, he got a message saying “This is the SEC. If this had been a real scam, you would have lost money. Please be more careful in the future.”

    The incredible part is, some of the people still wanted to invest…tried to get in touch with the “real” company behind the website and inform them that their site had been hacked by the SEC…..

  2. Cara Ellison says:

    LOL! That’s so weird and creepy. It’s also the reason I can’t get all weepy over investors who lose money. People are just knuckleheads.

    People who don’t know what they’re doing should either take it upon themselves to learn, or alternatively, just opt out of investing. Enron employees were completely retarded to invest all their money in Enron stock. Enron hired a private firm to come in and give seminars on investing and people still put 100% of their money in Enron. People claim that Ken Lay told them to keep their money in Enron stock. Ken Lay is not a broker; he’s a CEO. So I just can’t feel sorry for any of them. And I can’t feel sorry for the folks in your example, David, or the people who get taken by those weird coin-investment ads that are on late-night teevee.

    If you make those kinds of stupid mistakes, it’s on YOU. (Not you, David, just the collective ‘you’ who gets scammed and cries that they want their money back. Like there’s do-overs or something.)

  3. “guaranteed interest of 16% weekly.” The numbers look solid. How do I get in touch with these people?

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