Discover Card’s “Nation of Consumers”

August 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm 3 comments

“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.

— Johnny

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.


Entry filed under: Business, Media.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Will  |  August 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. After seeing this commercial on TV I just about ran to Google the intro line. It frightens me to see such a crass take on people as cogs in the financial machine. I want to scream against the subtlety and the utter lack of consciousness people have in the face of this kind of assault. Sorry the tone is so harsh; glad someone else is bothered.

  • 2. Tina  |  August 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    I was so horrified — of COURSE there is something wrong with gorging on mass luxury.

  • 3. swifty  |  October 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I saw this Ad for the first time, about 2 months ago. I recall crossing the living room floor & stopping suddenly, as I could not keep my head from whipping around (to visually verify) that any entity would be proud to broadcast this message. Then I heard myself responding aloud to the television, “Seriously?!”

    I looked around the room, as if trying to locate someone else to affirm the incredible scene. It felt a bit like being the lone witness to a petty crime. One of Discover’s replies to some of the consumer posts, indicate that the commercial is taken out of context; that they are encouraging smarter spending with their “debt paydown calculator” tool. Clearly, many of us consumers have “discovered” that there was nothing useful to hear, after the opening line.


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