Rance Crain Wants Financial Marketers To Tell The Truth

In an Ad Age editorial, Rance Crain suggests it’s time for marketers to educate consumers about the real consequences of financial matters:

The sad truth is that many financial marketers don’t want prospective home buyers and mortgage holders to understand the downsides of their transactions — that interest rates can go up without notice, that buyers are taking on too much debt, that housing values don’t always go up.
Ditech’s latest campaign, “People are smart,” is meant to assuage the financial community as much as consumers. Ditech knows full well that people aren’t smart when it comes to financial matters, but the slogan makes everyone involved feel better.

It’s not that people are smart, or stupid. It’s that every client I’ve ever had in the Financial, Insurance, or Real Estate (the “FIRE” categories) business intentionally makes their marketing initiatives confusing, in order to maximize their profits. Burying the details in a series of asterisks and fine print.
And I’ve never once heard of an ad agency say to a client, “You know, that’s really not the most ethical way to get the message across. We really shouldn’t be confusing consumers like that.” No, ad agencies need those clients because FIRE industry clients spend lots of money on advertising–and lobbying Congress to protect their duplicity.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. It may just be a matter of time before consumers realize that there’s a wealth of unbiased information for them out on the interweb. And before someone makes that information easily digestible by the masses.

  2. Moneywise says:

    I think they should teach basic money management in high schools as a required course. It is STUNNING how many people lack even basic knowledge of something that has such a HUGE effect on their lives.
    What a benefit to financial institutions that courses like that are almost always the first to be cut in school budget crunches.