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Ads for Credit Cards.
by Jimmy (smashboredom)
at April 18th, 2008 (10:01 pm)

Extract from Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit? Volume 2.

'Don't put it off, put it on'. Let's be clear about this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting things off.

'Things get more exciting when you say "YES"'. That's right: seize the day!

Your life is not exciting enough, quite simply, because you haven't borrowed enough money. That much should be self-evident. Borrowing money may make you taller. You will have a nicer smile, and have read more books - while still finding time for that all-important jet-skiing holiday. It's possible that, by borrowing more money, you can end all wars. Certainly if you get one of Bono/American Express's Red Cards (where a tiny percentage of your capricious spending is forwarded on to the poor, starving African babies) and you spend, spend, spend enough with it - you know, really absolutely totally ruining yourself - you could end famine. All of this while living in a cool contemporary apartment drinking crisp white wine.

This is the abiding message of ads for credit cards. In 2005, posters for HSBC credit cards bore the slogan 'Magical Christmas Cards'. So that's 'magical' meaning 'running up large debts so that more of your money ends up with the banks'. It's magic only in the sense that it involves a trick.

We should trust our banks: they look after our money and everything. Yes, they make more every month from skanking people with late payment fees than you are likely to earn in your entire life, but that's only fair. With the UK public clearly in the middle of a cash crisis, still the adverts offering more credit come thicker and faster. Anyone would think the only way our economy is remaining afloat is by getting everyone to embrace really quite terrifying levels of financial insecurity - borrowing squillions to buy tat, and driving up house prices and rents with mortgage-mad buy-to-let mania (Britons owe over a trillion in mortgage debt alone). Britain is booming! Don't let your fear of bailiffs spoil it. Do bailiffs give you a new Audi and a spangly top? They do not. Credit does. So I know which side I'm on.

It's amazing how early you can start getting the plastic habit. Mastercard's new Splash card even entices under-18s to get involved. This despite cases like the 19-year old who sought help from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service because he had £48,000 of debt with 19 lenders. The debt of Panama before reaching your 20s? Now that's a reason for teen angst.

Mastercard have defended the Splash card by saying it's the parents who control the limit and spending. Sadly, though, that would be the same parents who are working 70 hours a week because they owe eight billion pounds to credit card companies because they kept saying YES to trinkets and baubles because 'they are shiny'. Kids would be better off saying NO and shipping their parents off to Dr Tanya's House of Big Spendaways. Or get that Supernanny woman to put the shits up them.

Posted to powerswitch and adbusters (see the website for Bratz, 'Having one of those days?' advertising, Che Guevara Merchandise and Election Planes).


Posted by: Ian Aleksander Adams (iaaphoto)
Posted at: April 18th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

serious. I cut up my credit card a year ago and I haven't looked back. Now I just have to take care of these damn student loans

Posted by: shoop (mcfnord)
Posted at: April 18th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
terry cloth

Awesome post. You've nailed it. Seeing the "actual price" of things bought on high-interest credit would make most people kick the habit.

Posted by: jc_on_ecstacy (jc_on_ecstacy)
Posted at: April 19th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)

thank you much for this post.

Posted by: mike (trinib)
Posted at: April 19th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)

what better way to get us all to work those longer hours

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