Cool Guy In Ad Forgets To Mention He Will Cost You MoneyGuileless grownups and equally guileless children both seem to respond well to straightforward ad jingles with a catchy tune. But members of the disaffected 20-something creative underclass need a dash of ironic humor with our jingles, to makes us feel like we're not giving in so easily to corporate mind control. That's why the ads for are so popular-they show a 20-something guy (just like your friends!) singing a funny little song about how hard it is to work crappy jobs, and how happy he is that he can get a free credit report. Turns out the ads are misleading and the reports aren't free at all! How could you do this to us, guitar-strumming advertising guy? is run by Experian, and it actually signs you up for a $14.95 per month fee when it gives you your report. Making this even worse is the fact that we're all legally entitled to a free credit report from the company every year, via But Experian's site is incredibly successful, because we are all suckers for a catchy ad tune.

"It absolutely is the free credit report," [an Experian exec] said. "It's not the one by the government, which is why we put the link on our front page of the landing site, and it is a free report. It's really a test drive for people to understand what's in that report because a report can be very complex."
One key step to understanding your credit report: knowing where those mysterious $14.95 per month charges are coming from. Three of the company's ads are in the clip below. [NYT]