Discover Card’s “Nation of Consumers”
“We are a nation of consumers, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” So begins “Brighter” the latest TV spot from Discover Card, the credit card company with its head in the clouds. “What if instead of encouraging us to spend more, (a credit card company) actually helped us spend smarter?” Now I’ll admit, I enjoy watching commercials, if only for the opportunity to skewer the bad ones. But watching this particular ad last night made me more sad than anything.
Despite its grandiose statements, Discover merely encourages the same charge-forward culture that has people struggling more than ever to pay their credit card bills. The ad is in support of their new Paydown Planner, a basic tool that helps you organize your debt repayment more efficiently. But this barely treats the symptom, nevermind the disease. You don’t have to be a Marxist to think there is something actually wrong with a plastic economy based on fulfilling your immediate whims rather than your long-term needs. And with advertisers and financial institutions pushing a “don’t worry, spend more” message during a recession, it certainly is “easy to get carried away” into significant debt. If credit card companies show no responsibility in helping our nation out of debt, it may be up to consumers to discover their own way.
After the jump check out another horrible ad, this time from Visa. It tries to paint a cash-paying customer as the world’s biggest inconvenience.