High drama accompanies retirement investing TV commercials

Anissa Ford's picture

Post 9/11, post Bernie Madoff, and post Iraq war recession, television ads on investing and retirement accounts have become high drama marketing.

To date, most on-air financial planning advertisements commercials are pretty light. Those ads, like ING’s “What’s Your Number” promote images of financially secure individuals actively planning for retirement. There's picture perfect scenery absent any real world hints that retirement investments can go and do go awry.

American Bullion’s commercial, "What's Really in Your Retirement Account" produced by Seven Pictures Corporate Video, solemnly depicts a dark and smoky world for U.S. retirees who have not invested in their futures wisely. The retired couple walks into a large bank and they're good people, the lighting suggests they're virtual angels because a halo surrounds them.

The couple seeks a full withdrawal from their retirement account. The bank teller, a human automated attendant, with perfect eye contact and a robosmile, stacks worthless piles of paper money envelopes. There is no money, not even one dollar bill, just white paper neatly stacked. The bank teller even has a little more to the pauper pile. The couple waits and the teller adds a few more paper squares, 4" by 6" memo sheets.

Seven Pictures and American Bullion's "What's Really in Your Retirement Account" commercial is a stark reminder of the zombie like disregard for the lives of the aging population due to investment fraud that has struck the contemporary baby boomer population hardest. A souring economy, bad investments and ruthless investors are the smart and clear antagonists in the"What's Really in Your Retirement Account: television advertisement.

Viewers garner full sympathy for the attractive older couple. Their riches to rags story isn’t being told to fiction or mass media audiences in either literature or film. The only modern exception may be Downsized, the WE channel reality that series follows a blended families' relationship and recovery after the housing industry, thus the head of household's primary income, collapsed.

Downsized is a sobering tale and has been awarded for its original writing for new media by the 2012 Writer’s Guild. But the enchanted aging couple in the American Bullion commercial are representative images of the personal toll American and European economic decline has on American citizens—a broad group that overall enjoys leisure and travel as a reward for hard work.

An announcer intervenes and asks viewers isn’t it time to invest in something real. Not that other accounts— tech, green and otherwise— aren’t “real,” but gold is movable and has immediate redeemable cash value.

Today’s advisors say that $1500 per ounce (the current price of gold), compared to 2008’s $800 per ounce, is low. Traders are courting new gold investors . Retired couples like the pair in the American Bullion commercial are a target audience because they represent the set of new investors who have the financial potential to actively participate in the gold exchange.

In the American Bullion ad, blue hues and lighting tie and serve as memory for the dramatic reenactment and magnification of a tragic financial experience suffered by archetypal and sympathetic characters—European/American, and wealthy, carefree protagonists.

Seven Pictures has reversed the patriarchal role synonymous with financial investment television advertising. This time, the actor who would deliver the plea to call now and invest or trade gold is a helpless victim. He’s a sympathetic hero whose been wronged by banks and investments, but his situation can stabilize pretty certainly, with an investment in solid gold.

The story line and visuals are a sharp contrast from gold investing commercials where some established member of the patriarchy, celebrity or otherwise, touts on to investors of no particular circumstance about gold investing. Robert Wood talks sincerely about reversed mortgages or Fred Thompson has a few words about life insurance.

Financial advertising, particularly for television, has plenty space to market and target particular consumer audiences, particularly in the endeavor of finding new markets previously dominated and occupied by a few wealthy and elite shareholders.

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