Sunday, August 3, 2014

Read this post or you're going to die!

Not really.  But that headline is the typical method of hawking too many products today.  And much like sex, fear sells very well indeed, and it's not even arguable.

A few years ago, we all saw the Rosland Capital ad featuring G. Gordon Liddy (of Nixon 'Watergate' scandal infamy) telling us to buy gold and buy it now, as much as you can, or you will suffer losses to your nest egg much like we all saw in 2008 and 2009 when the stock market lost 45% of its value.  When Gordo was pitching us this schtick on gold, this was when gold, a commodity, was trading at around $1,900 per ounce.  Then over a period of about three weeks a few years ago, gold prices plummeted to $1,280/ounce where they still remain today and have hovered around this level for well over a year, now: had you listened to Gordo, you would have seen a loss of about a third of your investment.

Where is G. Gordon Liddy now?  Where is Gordo when you need answers to his claim that you needed to invest in his crappy garbage or face ruin?  Gordo? You said my investment was going to 'go up, not down.' What happened, Gordo?  Buddy?  (.....crickets chirping......)

I am a classically trained financial advisor, and I am acutely aware of these tactics every time I see or hear them.  Typically, the bogus ads begin with a startling statement that casts doubt on the performance of equities listed on the various stock markets.  Many of these ads cast fear into the hearts of those watching, and suggest that they will end up in the gutter, eating dog food and living in a dumpster unless they buy the hawked product du jour.

The truth of the matter is that stocks rise and fall, but generally rise over the long term, and that long term rise in assets is averaging around 9% per annum (over the last 100 years).  It's the inherent volatility of the equity markets that these predators focus on, and they completely disregard the general long term positive performance of the markets.

The biggest abuser of playing on people's fears are the annuity companies, which peddle insurance products.  Unlike products available through banks or exchanges, the twist on these scams are that they are simply contracts between insurance companies and those buying their crap.  And these contracts are written by lawyers employed by the insurance companies, and those smarmy shysters write those contracts in heavy favor of the insurance company, and not you.  The biggest problem with these products is that they limit your benefits as much as possible during boom times, and your exposure to losses are not always limited - it all depends on how the lawyers spelled out the terms.  Additionally, these products are not guaranteed like bank products - they are paid out based on the good will and financial viability of the guys writing the checks.  Nobody is compelling these insurance guys to write checks to customers.  They write them if they feel like it.  If they don't write the check, so sue them.

Buy my annuity or die alone in the gutter, penniless and pitiful.  Don't buy into that crap, folks.  Yes, fear sells.  And it sells very well.  All I can tell you is that these fear mongers lie like dogs.  But you will still probably succumb to their Siren's call.  You can't help it.

Just like you can't help buying Bud Lite, because when you do you will be popular and hang out with swimsuit models just like on the ads.

It has to be true, the ads wouldn't lie, would they?


Z said...

Since I don't give a fig over those beautiful girls, you can bet I'll never buy Bud Lite! :-)

But you're so right...people get sucked into this stuff, and so do I if it appeals to my weakness (girls not being one of them!)
Honestly, there's a GORGEOUS fireman who, on a TV ad, offers a woman some kind of lozenge which will help 'cool her off'....I can't remember what the lozenge is now, but every time I see that fireman I think "I've got to buy some of that!" :-)

Fredd said...


We are all the targets of these evil marketing geniuses. Lying, corrupt jerks, but evil geniuses nonetheless.

Since most conservative bloggers are male, Z (face it, it's true), I used the pretty girls selling beer example. Sex sells, no matter what anybody says.

For women, recall the Old Spice commercials, where the buffed beef cake hunk with no shirt goes through the commercial flexing his 6-pack for the girls.

Don't even try to tell me that the message here by the evil geniuses is anything other than buy Old Spice, and you can hang with these beef cake dudes.

Not even arguable. And Old Spice does quite nicely, also not even arguable.

Ed Bonderenka said...

If you were a woman, would you have remembered the brand?
I wonder about the efficacy of entertaining ads that leave you not remembering the brand.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Old Spice explains why my wife has stayed with me.

Kid said...

Fredd, SO NOW you tell me.

Z, I've got Lozenges !!!!

Fredd, my favorite current example of your point is the new Fiat go cart price around 18k stripped or 27 K if you want the word 'Abarth' and some stripes on the side of the cart. They always show ads where women are stripping in the back seat and somehow you are there to witness this Epic-ly Awesome-ly Event!

They aren't selling a lot of them but they are selling them.

PS - Z, I've got Lozenges !!!

PPS - Fredd, looks like a 10-12 % correction in store for the markets this month.

Fredd said...

Ed: true, if the brand doesn't stick, it's money down a rat hole.

Kid: got any lozenges? If so, what kind? Z only likes the kind handed out by firemen, or so it would seem. And I ain't seen you with no kind of fire hose in your hands lately...

Kid said...

Fredd, You have me pegged I'm afraid. I'm no Fireman.. Gosh dang it and I don't even know what kind of lozenges to bring. Story of my life.

Oh well. Maybe I'll go into politics.

Z said...

Z only likes the lozenges handed out by THAT fireman! :-) (of Kid, of course~!)

Honestly, I think I saw it the other day and it's something like an Alka Seltzer PILL or something? I'd miss the fizz, personally!!!!!!

Ed, I like Old Spice, too!
But, seriously..Mr. Z used to wear Polo and some Christian Dior men's stuff. I kept them and smell them from time to time.
When I am feeling strong, that is. If not, it's so sad...

Kid said...

Z, They tell me I've got Fizz. You be the judge... :-)

Z said...

plop plop..what a relief it is!

Oh, ya,'ve got FIZZ, not PLOP :-)

Kid said...

Z, Thanks Baby !

Joe said...

I always thought they were full of baloney, I just didn't know how to express or phrase it. As you can tell, I am not a classically trained financial advisor, of any kind. Your explanations of these things is greatly appreciated.

Z said...

Oh...what a relief it IS! :-)

Fredd said...

Joe: 'full of baloney' is perfect. Had I consulted you before I wrote this, I could have saved myself a thousand keystrokes or so.