Commercial Break: FreeCreditReport.com Sinks To a New Low
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 7, 2008
O to the M to the G to the W to the T to the F to the L to the O to the L
When I first saw this commercial, I think I was about to head to the bathroom or something, but the sight of a new FreeCreditReport.com commercial stopped me in my tracks. This was not because I was particularly excited to see what vibrant, insidious new jingle the FCR ad wizards had concocted with their mini-casios and $5/day studio budget–in fact, my hatred for their previous three commercials was so great that they even earned a nomination for IITS’s 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Enemies List (where they were nonetheless roundly crushed by perennials Nickelback and Isiah Thomas). But, for whatever reason, the TV channels that I most watch all seem to be within the target demographic for cost-free credit evaluation, and I’ve seen the three commercials about 50 times each. So I figured then was as good a time as any to get used to the commercial that I would no doubt be fated to see just as many times over the next few months.
The phenomenon of these commercials never ceases to amaze me. OK, the first one or two might not’ve been quite so bad on their own–they’re hardly the first times songs have been invented to sell an individual product, and they were at least competently written (some nice harmonies in #2, I’ll even admit). But then the third one just pushed it over the edge. It seemed like it was trying to be a LOL WHITE GUY RAPPING ad like Taco Bell’s much more successful “This Is The Jam” series, but aside from the atonal and semi-rhythmic sing-speaking and the use of the words “wack,” “fly” and “phat,” nothing else about the song was remotely hip-hop (had to do something with those accoustic guitars, I suppose). It was weird, it was confusing, it was upsetting, and it wasn’t any less catchy or omnipresent, which, for a couple of months, made watching TV without TiVo or DV-R fucking blow.
Also, by that point it had become clear that it was the same annoying guy (and his idiot friends) who was appearing in all of these commercials, which Wikipedia tells me is French actor/singer/songwriter Eric Violette,
who made the rather sizable mistake of posting his or his agency’s phone number on his website, and will now have to put up with me calling him at all hours of the night yelling “U SUKKKK!!!!” for the rest of his life. My one consolation in this is that from the rest of Violette’s resume–the short films, the operas, the historical dramas–it seems pretty likely that making his name by sing-talking way through these FCR commercials is as much his idea of hell as mine is of watching them.
Anyway, now we have FreeCreeditReport.Com IV, which is somehow even worse than the first three. They kept the rap / sing-speak theme from III (as well as employing another “phat”-bomb), but made the music even weirder and more confusing, this time with a xylophone hook replacing the acoustic guitar, despite the fact that Idiot Friend #1 still appears to be rocking out on an electric. What’s more, half the song is taken up by an arduous spelling out of the entire website’s name (albeit with “report.com” mercifully abbreviated as “re to the port to the dot to the com”), followed by an exhortation for everyone in the audience to sing along. And you know what? After a month and a half or so of seeing this commercial five times a day, I’ll probably have no choice but to comply.
What about the Disney Channel–no way they’d be pitching to potential Credit Report shoppers there, right? I’ve been meaning to check out that Jonas Brothers movie anyway.