Dear god

Ramit Sethi · September 12th, 2011

IWT reader Alan R. sends me this image he found online.

I really love the copy in the bottom-right corner. Well done, Scammy Credit Card Ad Copywriter. I will see you in hell.

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  1. How awful! Who are they targeting?? I can’t imagine anyone but a naive kid would possibly be enticed by an ad like this, and that’s just terrible! I agree….soulless!

    • Sadly enough, one of my former bosses would have. Some people have such a dysfunctional relationship with money that they never outgrow no matter what their physical age is.

  2. T. AKA Ricky Raw

    Why exactly is it a scam? It’s being kind of honest in a warped way actually. If you’re the kind of person an ad like this works on, then you were going to get yourself in trouble with a credit card no matter what the ad said, so I don’t see what’s unethical or scammy about it.

    • It goes against Ramit’s definition of ethical persuasion: if they had all the information in the world, would they do it, etc.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Finally, someone talking about ethics. Just because you CAN write something doesn’t mean it’s right. Thanks, Olivia.

  3. slug |

    This is just basic marketing. The idea that “a credit card lets you pay for it later” is completely accurate. There’s nothing deceptive here. Aside from that one quote though, it’s completely antithetical to rational and disciplined personal finance.

  4. That made me laugh.

    Technically the copywriter is right, but it sounds like Eve tempting Adam to bite that apple. It sounds so simple but BAM…all of a sudden God smites you.

  5. Paris Hunter

    I come for the finance tips, stay for comedy lol.

  6. This is exactly whatthe US government does. Obama proposes a “jobs” bill that costs around 480 billion. The money will likely be spent over a year’s time.

    It will be paid for over ten years. Obama will not be president then.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Please get a life and stop seeing everything through your distorted political lens. Take it elsewhere.

  7. Maneesh Sethi

    I like how you say ‘see you in hell’, implying you’ll be there to meet him 🙂

  8. I wish these kinds of ads would include extra details like:
    * If you only make the minimum payments, it will take you 10 years to payoff a $400 shopping spree.
    * You’re about to pay extra for something that will be worthless by the time you finish paying for it.
    or my favorite…
    * Miss one payment and we will ruin your credit scores.

  9. LOL at the comments saying this isn’t deceptive. It definitely is crossing a line of ethics. Just because its legal doesn’t make it right. Have a moral code people.

  10. early retirement

    Everything just comes with a cost, and they dont want you to see it, but yet bonded legally to tell you.

  11. The ad is aimed squarely at a psychological need – to ‘Buy More’, what’s that really about?

    Also interesting (although it may be a result of subsequent cropping) – you can’t see the woman’s eyes.

  12. Jason Cabler (@DrCabler)

    WOW! I warn people about marketing and how it can influence you in my Celebrating Financial Freedom course, but I’ve never seen anything like this one. Many people can look past this kind of crap, but sadly, some people have much less self control than others and this just needlessly feeds the fire. Absolutely pathetic. I would bet this goes against the ethics of many in the marketing community.

  13. Obviously the message is unethical and jaded, but I’m more intrigued by whom the ad is targetting. It it clearly trying to go after women, perhaps of a younger age as it’s pushing shopping. They cut off the models upper head, but show her smiling to her hearts content. By cutting off her head, and almost making her indistinguishable….it’s like they are almost pushing the thought that this could be you. I’d love to know where Alan R found this ad.

  14. They just go right out and highlight the bad behavior the comes with credit cards. I’m imagining the equivalent candy bar ad that reads “Eat as much as you want. You can always go to the gym later.”

  15. This ad is not even close to the downright sleazy and manipulative copy common in the Internet Marketing field. Even Dan Kennedy, the granddaddy of direct sales marketing, says “we are in the business of manipulation”. The Salty Droid’s blog features a rogues’ gallery of these sort of marketers.

  16. Natalie @ Mango

    Shop allllll you want! It sounds like some mystical, magical promise with no repercussions. Kind of like that whole, “but can we really afford this house?” “Who cares, get a loan!” or the “I can’t really afford to travel right now…” “Doesn’t matter, charge it!” It isn’t like loans or charges just disappear, but ads like this make it seem like no big deal. I do wonder, where was this ad found? Who is the audience? I have to believe (in order to sleep at night) that even an audience of “naive kids” as Pam put it, would know better than to fall for this trap; not in this economy; not with the debt we’re in as a nation.

  17. Ben - BankAim

    What are you talking about? This ad sums up the American Dream… and the American economy!