This British Ad That Uses A Schwarzenegger Talking Robot Head Is A Great Ad For A Very Confusing Cause

NY Times- When British financial regulators were planning a public education campaign about missold payment protection insurance, they figured they needed to inject some pizazz into the relatively dry subject matter.

Enter an animatronic head of Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling back to his 1987 action film “Predator,” and shouting, “Do it now!”

The advertisement introduced on Tuesday is part of efforts by the Financial Conduct Authority to add a dash of Hollywood to a campaign to resolve one of Britain’s worst personal finance scandals in recent years, one that has cost banks tens of billions of dollars in fines and compensation to customers.

The campaign centers on the misselling of a product known as P.P.I. Introduced more than two decades ago, P.P.I. was supposed to give consumers, and lenders, a bit of peace of mind by covering loan repayments if a person could no longer work because of an accident, illness or disability, or if they died.

But regulators later determined that the insurance product was often improperly sold to people who did not need it, or could not qualify to use the insurance. Six years ago, the authorities took the banking industry to court.

This commercial is an achievement. You know why? Because the ad is for something so boring, so confusing, that I can’t even try to understand what it is. Something about loans or insurance or repayments? Mistakes made by British banks? Normally, the marketing gurus for that sort of commercial put their heads together and come up with something so mind-numbing that Tivo and DVR were invented. Instead, these guys said “fuck it, let’s do something that has NOTHING to do with what we’re selling and just throw our cause at the end.” They knew what they were working with, threw out the script, and used an Arnold talking-head robot, which is universally good. Brilliant.

The PPI thing isn’t mentioned until 35 seconds into the 1 minute commercial. I was trying to guess what the ad was for leading up to that. At first, I thought it was for body spray because I’m an idiot. Then apples, then paper towels, but it couldn’t be all three because those products aren’t usually sold together. So then I thought, maybe they’re selling an apple-scented paper towel? That can’t be it. Then the Arnold robot came out and I thought it was about some decision-making seminar. Maybe a class or a medicine that teaches people to be more decisive.

The point is, it doesn’t matter what they were selling. Or telling people about. It was a funny commercial and if I live in England and haven’t done my PPI yet, I’m stepping to it right quick thanks to the encouragement of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And that’s good advertising.

“Bye-byes… for the PPI.”