Commercial Break: Montel Williams Hates Poor People   1 comment

Broadcast: 15 October 2012
Program: Toddlers & Tiaras
Channel: The once respectable TLC
Conglomerate: Discovery Communications

Advertiser: Money Mutual
Owned By: Who knows?  Probably a bunch of scumbags.
Pitch: Solve your crippling money problems with high interest debt.

Montel Williams is a semi-reputable guy.  His daytime talk show wasn’t as bad as some, he’s a Navy vet, and he does charity and political work.  He now also endorses usurious and utterly dishonest payday lenders.  We open on the man himself:

Shame on You, Montel

Can you believe I need money this bad?  Me neither.

In his best sympathetic talk show host voice, he stares solemnly into the camera and intones:

You know, like a lot of people, times are tough for Hector and his family.  Gas is four bucks a gallon; groceries cost a fortune.  So they got a little help.  Hector went to MoneyMutual.com.

And what is “MoneyMutual.com”?  Well, for starters it sure as shit isn’t a mutual fund.  It’s actually a hive of short term, high interest, just-this-side-of-legal loan sharks, though that’s not quite how Williams puts it:

MoneyMutual has over one hundred short term lenders who can lend up to a thousand dollars in as little as twenty-four hours.

So what you’re telling me is that a bunch of small time lenders, whose clientele consists exclusively of people who are already on the financial ropes, got together and paid for a website, a bottom feeding celebrity endorser, and a commercial on national cable.  Good to know.  But here’s where the lying really gets going:

Just be eighteen or older with a regular income of eight hundred dollars a month.

As he’s saying this, we see that, as you might expect, things aren’t quite that simple:

We'll Make It Look Easy

Man, I really wish I’d saved more of that talk show money.  I can keep this sweater, right?

That tiny print at the bottom says “Other restrictions may apply”, so apparently being a teenager with an annual income of $9,600 isn’t enough to ensure that someone will repay their high interest loan (or at least enough of the vig to cover expenses).  We then cut to “Hector”, who narrates:

When I saw that money in my checking account the very next day, I could finally breathe again.

As the actor portraying poor Hector says this, we see him checking his phone, but not reading the tiny print that is overlaid on top of it, which reads:

Please Use Short Term Loans Responsibly

Hector Misses the Point

Sweet, free money!

As with other ads for predatory lending, the pitch here is as a solution to ongoing financial problems, hence Williams talking about gas and groceries.  But the very fine and very hard to read print on the final screen reads, in part:

Cash advances should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution.

Pay No Attention

Forget all that small print shit.  Free money!

Once again, they’re pitching a way to alleviate serious financial problems but what they’re actually selling is the precise opposite of that.  The rest of the small print boils down to saying that MoneyMutual is not a lender, doesn’t guarantee you anything (ever), and that you should realize that you have to pay this back.  It’s the reverse of every message the commercial has been sending, but covers their asses in case anyone ever complains about truth in advertising.  The whole thing is predicated on the idea that if you need cash bad enough to contact these people, the fine print likely isn’t going to slow you down.  Sadly, that’s probably true.   

On the plus side, it is easy to laugh at their half assed, slap dick operation, because this is how Montel concludes:

Go to MoneyMutual.com or call

This is where you’d expect to hear him read the phone number, but either they need to change it frequently (creditor problems, I wonder?) or they didn’t have it when they filmed the commercial, because the number is very clearly read by a voice that does not belong to Montel Williams.  It’d be nice to think that he ran screaming from the studio, but that happy thought seems unlikely since his smiling visage is at the top of their home page:

Seriously, Shame on You, Montel

Nothing screams quality like the “As Seen on TV” sticker.

No way around it, Montel Williams is squeezing the last few dollars out of his fame by helping a bunch of sharks squeeze the last few dollars out of financially wracked people.  Fuck you, Montel Williams. 

Posted October 19, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

One response to “Commercial Break: Montel Williams Hates Poor People

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  1. i use to respect him . Now i agree with you .

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