The Credit Expert

A pig called Sophocles, a posh bloke that plays the harpsichord, a Chinese butler, ice from the sea of tranquility. It's a pretty bizarre combo to get people to check their credit rating.

On the one hand, I like the pace and feel of these ads. That, along with their downright weirdness, certainly makes them stand out amongst the frenetic clutter of most commercial breaks. The casting and performances are good and I also like the way that the logo is shamelessly incorporated into the ads.

However, I'm less certain about the messaging. These ads don't really give people a reason to visit the site and get their credit checked [a free 30 day trial is offered up in one of the executions but I'm not sure whether this will be the main take-out of that ad].

It almost seems as if the agency has taken the "let's make sure that the one thing people remember from this ad is the brand name" mantra from the insurance comparison website battleground and just simply applied them to this market.

Getting a cheap insurance quote and signing up to a site to get your credit report are two very different things in two very different markets.

I reckon that people need much more of a push and a reason why to engage with the world of credit reports. The line "I know you're curious about your credit rating" is used in one of the ads as if it's some kind a universal truth and that it's something that the entire population are already interested in finding out about.

I think the reality is that there a loads of people who aren't curious about their credit rating. Millions of people probably don't know what one is or how to get one. Or even, more crucially, why they should actually get one.

The campaign might be more effective if the role of advertising was to actually make people curious about their credit rating. And having a good old-fashioned benefit in the ads that explained why it might be important or useful to check your credit rating would have undoubtedly helped.

I'm sure that triggers like how to improve your credit score, how to find out what information companies can see about you, how to help prevent ID fraud, how to see who's been checking your credit could all be motivating things to talk about that would get people clicking.

"Nice execution, shame about the message" seems to be a bit of a recurring theme at the moment. Can't help thinking that this is symptomatic of many creative departments being marginalised into simply focusing on how something is being said, rather than what is being said in the first place.

Newer readers to this blog [and planner-bashers] might like to find out a bit more about this topic in an earlier post here. Or indeed another one here.


  1. Is that "truffle" he's holding a giant pig turd?

  2. This is all true. But we don't know what the brief was. I'm pretty sure if Experian were looking for maximum impact they'd've said so, and been a lot less subtle. The service is aimed at the morbidly, weirdy curious and the financially savvy. And so this does nicely. My only (tiny) complaint is that, creatively, it feels a bit Meercatty? But then, maybe that was the brief - "Can we have a Meercat, please?"

    Which is another blogpost all together.

  3. What do you mean by 'a bit Meercatty'?

  4. can't really get my head around John's comment "I'm pretty sure if Experian were looking for maximum impact they'd've said so, and been a lot less subtle"

    surely any client worth their salt that splashes the cash on a TV campaign is looking for maximum impact?

    and the "financially savvy" are the ones probably the least in need of their service

  5. By "Meercatty" I just mean "lets create a quirky, memorable character that embodies our abstract, digital service because that tack seems to be quite successful, yeah." Simples.

    @Anon, like our host here, I'm just trying to understand why they've gone for a subtle, admittedly great looking bit of creative that doesn't go half the distance it could've done in selling the product.

    As I say, it's almost a nod and a wink to the credit savvy, when surely it should be screaming "Everbody needs this site!"

    TV only achieves maximum impact if the message is right. I'm more inclined to think that (some) clients are quite complacent about TV. As though a TV spot alone is big and dumb enough to do the job, irrespective of what it says.


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