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.