Worst TV Commercials for the Average Investor, 2015 Edition

Tyler Linsten Investing

One of the worst things the financial industry does is lead the average “retail” investor to believe they can become the next Warren Buffett if they just get the right trading platform, read the best research reports or pay attention to the right trends.

If you spend any time watching financial television, you’ve come across some of the worst offenders: commercials. Without further ado, here are my picks for the worst three of the year.

#3 – MFS Investment Management – “Active Management”

This one is a buzzword bingo game of epic proportions. “Protect capital long-term.” “Global insights.” “Calculated risks.” “Outperform.” They literally say “active management” SIX times in 30 seconds. We have futuristic touch screens embedded in desks, a massive TV screen on its office wall and a clear emphasis that successful active management depends on traveling the world with a magical black notebook you share with close members of your insider trading network. Active management and its expensive/underperforming characteristics aren’t welcome in these parts, if you’re a new reader.


#2 E*Trade – Opportunity Is Everywhere – “Shoes”

Honestly, this whole post could be dedicated to E*Trade’s horrible commercials but I didn’t want to lay it on TOO heavily. Coming in at #2 is a fine example of how the industry wants average people to think that trading success is as easy as spotting a trend in public and buying a stock. Kevin Spacey seems to sarcastically dismiss this notion at the end of the commercial by saying “but you know the difference” with his trademark gaze after dropping a portable DVD player on the ground. Does E*Trade realize the way he says it contradicts their whole message? Guess not, I’ve seen the commercial quite a bit on financial TV.

#1 E*Trade – Opportunity Is Everywhere – “Fast Food”

This one. Oh, my. Horrible! It’s everything that’s wrong with retail trading and the brokers who enable it. Here we have an Average Joe sitting at the airport with his laptop. He sees a new restaurant with a line. He fires up his browser and reads a few stories about the industry. Enter E*Trade’s Confirmation Bias Enabler, also know as “Browser Trading.”  E*Trade has managed to create a device to connect bad decisions to client money in absolute record time – this is quite the accomplishment, must be a lot of high fives at E*Trade HQ for this one. Average Joe can now pull up a website and buy the company’s stock straight from his browser! As we see in the commercial, he is very pleased with himself, as indicated by his slight smirk. Good luck, Joe!


Even more E*Trade, with how to “spot trends before they become trendy,” BEARD EDITION.