December 25 2009|10.03 AM UTC

Angelica Nierras

2009′s Best and Worst Financial TV Ads

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As the economy continued to tank throughout 2009, businesses involved in financial services definitely pulled back on their advertising budgets. Still, there were some great commercials that aired over the year, as well as a couple flops.

Our pick for the year’s best financial commercial:

Ally Bank’s “Truck”

Ally’s whole campaign of “even kids know it’s wrong” was sheer genius as the perfect metaphor for all the fine print and hidden costs customers typically have to deal with at their bank. As you may known, BillShrink helps you find the best savings account for your hard-earned money (and we’re not going to lie, Ally comes up pretty often in the savings result). Check out more Ally bank commercials here, each detailing a particular headache most customers have to deal with when banking.

Ally Bank “Bike”

Ally Bank “Pony”

Ally Bank “Hide”

Other Greats from 2009:

Jerry Springer Financial Literacy PSA

Jerry Springer did a public service announcement promoting financial literacy. Enough said.

Citi “Safari”

The whole “Citi Never Sleeps” slogan has lent itself to some pretty solid advertising, but Citi’s most memorable ads definitely focus on family-friendly experiences (purchased with Citi, of course) like the 2007 father-and-son-in-Norway ad where the son bought his dad a trip to Norway to see the land of their ancestors…only to discover their ancestors were from Sweden. This “Safari” commercial is not as great, but still offers a zinger at the end that makes it ultra-memorable.

E*Trade “Talking Baby”

As long as we’re talking financial services, we gotta mention the Etrade baby’s offering for 2009. This one gave the Etrade baby a singing counterpart and aired Super Bowl 2009. The Etrade baby has been a solid advertising win for Etrade; it’ll be interesting to see where they take the little tyke in 2010.

The Worst Financial Commercials of 2009

The Ad Council has done some really innovative, creative PSAs in the past, but this whole “Feed the Pig” campaign is a major dud. The ads basically berate people for thinking they’re going to somehow stumble across a cache of money, and suggests instead cooking at home and making your own coffee. One commercial guilt-trips a woman for having take-out.

Fact is, while saving that $1000 a year is great, the more solid financial decision is looking into lowering your bills without sacrificing your lifestyle. Here at BillShrink, we saves the average user $1500 a year on credit cards, gas, and wireless combined with no change in services. Now that’s “feeding the pig.”

The Ad Council is definitely capable of producing better commercials that promote financial literacy. Just check out the 2008 “Control Your Credit” campaign, which get across the message that your credit score is really important.

Ad Council / US Department of Treasury “Metal Con”

Ad Council / US Department of Treasury “Capiche”

Ad Council / US Department of Treasury “Video Game”

Hopefully we’ll see some better financial literacy campaigns from them in the coming year, as this issue heats up as the economy continues slogging its way through a recession.

H&R Block “38 Days”

Finally, it should be a cardinal rule for advertisers to never, ever joke about death. It just isn’t funny. This H&R Block commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, where Death tells an accountant: “See you in 38 days!” — Real funny, guys.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jay January 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I think the Grim Reaper commercial is the funniest.


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