Commercials I Hate: Free Credit Report Shut UP!

BlogHer Original Post

It's ying and yang time, people! Since my last post was all about how much I love commercials, this one will be about commercials I hate. Well, it's really one commercial in particular, but because it's also an ENTIRE ANNOYING SERIES, it's commercialS. Plural.

You all are pretty familiar with the Free Credit Report dot com commercials, right? Even if you fast-forward your way through them, I just know you've had the "catchy" songs stuck in your head at one point or another. It's sort of one of those things that catches you unawares and before you can grab the TiVo remote to zip through, you've had the entire jingle downloaded into your receptive brain.

It's such an annoying series of commercials that every time a new spot pops up, my husband yells, "Oh, would you JUST DIE?!" Because in the intervening time with no evidence of a new installment, we had hopes that the series had, in fact, died. But no. A new one appears. Roller coaster, RenFaire, crappy car...they just keep coming.

The ditties -- brand new for each installment -- are annoying, yes. Most catchy tunes are, and, as evidenced on Twitter when someone "earworms" someone else, no one likes having a song stuck in their head. It's even more egregious when you catch yourself singing a commercial. You suddenly feel dirty, because it means that the big bad advertising world has won. Clearly. That said, the songs are not even close to the worst part of the Free Credit Report campaign.

The worst part of the campaign is what ended up being the second spot in the series. The spot that made Wing Chun write a blog post at Television Without Pity called "Is There a Freejagoffreport.com?" and ask: "Okay -- am I high, or is the dude in this commercial saying that if he had known his wife had bad credit, he would not have married her?! I realize he isn't real, but still, this is the message the company chooses to sell its service -- you should screen out the potential life partners who might hamper you financially?"

Quickly: the spot shows Our Hero living in his parents basement, playing with his band, and bitching about how his new wife's credit landed them in their unenviable situation. Meanwhile, said wife is engaged in doing their laundry.

Maybe I'm holding a grudge, but it's a legitimate grudge. I mean, why on earth would the company put out such an offensive and alienating commercial? Had the company pulled that spot, I might have gotten over my hate. Maybe. However, though that particular spot seemed to stop airing for awhile, it came back. Thus, my hate was allowed to live on.

And what do I do to relieve my hate in this, Our Internet Age? Type "I hate the free credit report dot com guy" in my Google bar to find other like-minded individuals. The results were most gratifying.

In a post titled "I Hate You Singing Pirate Credit Report Guy," Freakgirl comments on the spot in question saying, "...it’s painfully obvious he hates her. Also, he makes her do chores while he plays guitar with his stupid friends" and concludes, "You're an asshole, Credit Report Guy."

Again, I don't think this is the sort of reaction the company was looking for, but on the other hand, it has people talking, and now I sort of hate myself for bringing even more attention to them.

Meanwhile, a fairly hysterical reaction to the spots is the post rockinjoe wrote investigating the nefarious and murderous deeds involving Free Credit Report dot com guys. For rockinjo, each new spot brings fresh evidence. Here are some of the best gems in his analysis:

1. "Something worries me about these guys. They may have been involved with a murder."

2. "One may notice that from this commercial forward that the wife has disappeared. No mention is made of her from the last commercial on. Has anyone called the police? I bet I know who played a part in the woman's disappearance. It's the husband, I bet the body is in a Hefty bag in the small, cramped basement. After all, there's no room in the trunk of the sub compact."

3. "Well, well, well. What do we have here? Our band is on the run from the law and now they're hiding out at the renaissance faire. Who's going to find them there? No one, that's who. It's a perfect place to hide. No on goes to those stupid faires where you pretend you're an English Knight about to go into battle."

You should really read his whole post to learn how the murderous band members evade capture by moving from spot to spot.

Not everyone's a hater, though. The lead "singer," Eric Violette, who is just the face of the campaign and not the real voice, has a facebook fan club. Additionally, lorraine at the beppu beat confesses her confusing love for him: "So yeah, I love Free Credit Report Dot Com guy. My heart doth flutter like an idiot when I see his stupid face on TV."

Love him or hate him, looks like Eric Violette and those awful commercials aren't going anywhere.

Additional links:

Several months back, Monica Hesse interviewed Eric Violette for the Washington Post.

In October, Carol Hilker at the Examiner gave a little more insight into the commercials and Eric Violette's voice.

BCRoy at Dog and Pony Show digs a little more into Eric Violette's background, including his, uh, demonstrated interest in martial arts.

Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a contributing editor to BlogHer's Pop Culture and Entertainment sections. She spends a great deal of time yelling and throwing the occasional fruit and/or vegetable at her TV. That said, she loves television almost as much as she loves cooking. Her personal site is The Grub Report where she makes fun of her food and other aspects of her life.

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