Marketing in a Downturn – Hey Consumer, Run Up More Debt!

Went through two weeks of junk mail last night, mostly credit card/personal loan promotions from banks and mortgage providers. A sampling:

” … you’ve been pre-approved for this Visa Business Platinum Card offer! You’ll start with a low rate of 0% on all purchases and balance transfers … Please note there is a 3% transfer fee for all balances you transfer. Remember, to keep your great rates, be sure to always pay your bill on time!”

“It doesn’t get any easier than this. Now you have the ability and flexibility to do what you want when you want. Simply use one of the enclosed access checks for your Platinum Plus Visa credit card account.”

“A generous $30,000 Personal Loan offer is waiting!”

“Home loans – It’s like finding money you didn’t know you had.”

“You’re Pre-Approved for the United Mileage Plus Visa card with no annual fee for the first year – that’s a $60 value.” <a perfect match: pair up your propensity to overspend with our struggling airline – we all win!>

Shame on marketers in the financial services industry for continuing to entice customers to spend beyond their means, often through short-term “0%” promotions that bump up to Prime plus X after 6-9 months (and don’t forget to pay on time, or bad things can happen!). Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?


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