Debt is a major factor in the lives of most people my age. While I am on the upper end of a group known as millennials, many of us share a common bond; debt.
No matter if the debt was chalked up for higher education or for high heels; its effect on our futures cannot be denied. Since most of our parents didn't start their adult lives with this much unsecured debt, we're forging new, untraveled trails, with no idea where we may be headed. That's why a new ad campaign by the Ad Council seems all the more relevant.
This new set of Public Service Announcements, as well as a slightly corny but enormously informative game, underline an important goal for the organization; teaching millennials about credit and its effect on their lives.
The videos and radio spots are pretty funny, and also paint a painfully clear picture of what happens when you stop paying credit card bills. The scenarios range from humorous; a mom driving a bunch of metal-heads to metal-con, to the more somber realization that employers can check your credit as part of determining your qualifications for a job.
I took a few minutes to play through the Bad Credit Hotel flash game, which prompts players to collect various items and have credit related discussions with a humorous cast of characters. The goal of the game is to make it to suite 850, a room open only to those with a perfect credit score. The game was entertaining and the dialog reminded me slightly of the educational games I used to play in grade school.
Underneath the humor, the game provides some great insight into financial matters which are pertinent to people my age. While I knew much of the information presented, the majority of 18-24 year olds will come away with greater financial literacy. A few takeaways from the game include getting in touch with creditors before you can't make payments, determining the "real cost" of items bought on credit and the fact that debt collectors can't call you at work if your employer disapproves of the calls. Finally, while talking with a worldly gentleman, players are prompted to create their own monthly budget which is coupled with a debt payoff calculator providing a clear plan to paying off credit card debt.
I think this is one of the coolest ad campaigns the Ad Council has done in a long time and I couldn't agree more with the need to focus on the financial health of millennials. As an added bonus the ads are catchy enough that they might be able to get that damnable freecreditreport.com song out of my head! If you don't know your rights regarding debt collection or how to handle creditors then head on over and play the Bad Credit Hotel game today. If you are related to a millennial; (and who isn't) then send them a link to the game, the knowledge gained could mean the difference between an 850 and a 340...and that's priceless!
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