The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

It’s All In The Fine Print – Just Look It Up

On July 23rd, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

It has been brought to my attention by someone much more adept at detail than I that the “insurance rate wars” that have flooded the airwaves is a laughable, egomaniacal exercise in self-promotion with very little credibility.  See, according to my source, most of the comparison data showing one company performing better than another is a result of the very company that’s paying for the ad doing their own analysis.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the ads should really go something like this: “according to a study conducted by us in a vacuum rife with controlled data provided by us, we are pleased to announce that, in fact, we are the best at what we do.”  During the last five seconds of the neatly packaged promo, a powerful voice will boom out with an encouraging message for you to proceed with said purchase.  At the same time, in the bottom third of your screen, the company spews forth, in some ridiculously small print that nobody can read, the details should you wish to peruse them – knowing full well that no one will ever delve any deeper.

See, ad agencies and politicians both know that when they tell the American people to “look it up,” nobody will.  That’s just too much work, and they know that society has become so sedentary that even Netflix had to change their ways as we became too lazy to walk to the mailbox for our movies.  Nope, we’ll take the word of the paid voice-over talent and make the call.  A professional salesperson answers on the other end and you’re done.  Over the next 20 minutes, you have purchased yourself a new policy with a new company represented by a little lizard or some other cleverly placed pitchman.

SLCCU has told you for years that we’re the best at what we do – so do countless other financial institutions.  Every one of us (literally hundreds in the St. Louis area) touts our superiority in the world of financial services.  Better rates and better terms usually lead the pack as differentiators from the bad guys.  Lower fees, exemplary service and the ultimate in convenience are all peppered into a 30-second spot that errs on the side of information overload.  Just like insurance companies, we use professional voices, intriguing graphics and the required small print to keep us out of jail – and, in most instances, our own analysis from our own studies, conducted in our own little cocoon of distorted reality.  So be careful!

But, SLCCU is different.  What we tell you is not just what we believe to be the truth.  Our claims and contentions are backed up by independent analysis – in our case, the graduate students of the esteemed Olin Business School at Washington University.  These very smart and professional young men and women analyzed us versus other financial institutions and concluded that we provided substantial value versus our competitors – to the tune of almost $400 per year per member in savings.

Sure, we paid for the study, but we emphasized their need to be independent in the analysis.  We thought we had something big going on, and they confirmed it – totally independent.  Who else on TV pitching financial institutions can say that?  You can look it up – please!

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