Has advertising finally jumped the (loan) shark?

Posted: December 6, 2011

For those not familiar with the phrase jumping the shark you can find the explanation here. But suffice to say it's not a good thing.

I was struck dumb by the stupidity of an ad I saw last night. It was for some new credit card with the oh-so-trying-to-sound-cool-and-modern name of Slate. 

Somewhere amid the usual scenes of afluent people doing what afluent people do, the voiceover – claiming to be the person we are watching – says something like, "I can create a plan to pay off large items sooner, which saves me money."

Good grief. Do advertising agencies truly believe we have all been struck down with stupid-disease?

There's not a credit card in the world that you CANNOT pay off early. In fact if you pay everything off every month it becomes simply a convenience and costs you nothing except your annual fee. 

And of course you "save money" by paying off your balance as soon as posssible. But the so-called savings are in the form of interest that you will not pay. So you don't really save money – it's just that the bank will screw you royally for NOT paying off your balance. The longer you delay the more they will screw you. "A plan to pay off larger items early" is absolute, tricky bullshit. I'm sure they have some convoluted defence but honestly who cares? What the ad says is farcical.

The fact that this organization thought it was worth spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars (at least) to make this commercial and then spend hundreds of times that to air it, well, it's just ridiculous.

They put all this money behind a message that says nothing apart from…We let you do what you can do with any credit card and always could – but we need to sound helpful and this is all we could come up with.

Hopeless. Meaningless. Insulting.


Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 3.56.19 PM

Well, now you know it's from Chase…and my suggestion is, since there's no annual fee, get this card, use it as a monthly charge card and pay off your balance every month and the bastards won't make a bean out of you. They suck us in with 0% interest on purchases for 15 months and then, get this, you'll be hit with a variable interest rate between 11.9% and 16.9% depending on your credit rating! Legalized loan sharking…to stay with the theme. We should all get it and then cancel at the 15 month mark. No doubt there's some penalty for that buried in the small print.

I thought we had a consumer protection agency to stop crap like this? Clearly it's not up and running yet.