Guileless 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 FreeCreditReport.com 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? FreeCreditReport.com 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 AnnualCreditReport.com. 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]