Do Not Advertise Your Investment Services Like This

by Johnny Debacle

This is from an actual Yahoo Publisher’s Network ad I saw when I clicked through yesterday’s report on AT&T / Cingular (if you click on the article you will probably still see the ad at the top):

Goofy Investing Ideas
Investment Ideas that are not based on sound principles.

Here is the screenshot I took:

If someone described that ad as “Perhaps not as effective as it could have been”, I would pause, squint (this makes you, and by extension your opinion, seem smarter) then state that “I do not disagree.”

Things Not to Do in Investment Services Ad

  1. Indicate that your portfolio managers have no track record.
  2. Mention your analysts’ propensity for working while drunk or addled by absinthe (the real kind, from the Czech Republic).
  3. Describe your ideas as “goofy”.
  4. Use the word “goofy” in any context.
  5. Represent that women will be making investment decisions.
  6. Mention positions which are “not based on sound principles”.
  7. Speak of your past investments in a land war in Southeast Asia.

This seems like a pretty easy to follow set of rules, mostly guided by common sense and thousands of years of traditional misogyny.

Related Reseach:

Ad Sense Ad Sense


  1. January 24th, 2007 | 12:54 pm

    Maybe your comment

    “absinthe (the real kind, from the Czech Republic)”

    was supposed to be ironic. Czech absinth (no “e”) is nothing at all like real absinthe. Originally absinthe was from Switzerland and then from France. The area around the Swiss/French border has the best growing conditions for some of the key ingredients, including wormwood.

    In the 1990’s, Czech products called absinth, but with very little similarity, first appeared. Most play on the fact that it should be flamed and burnt, showing how little respect the Czech distillers have for their own creations, and building a negative image for the whole category.

    Now real absinthe has returned, much of it from its original birthplace in the Val-de-Travers region of Switzerland. There is an ever-expanding group of absinthe lovers all over the world, drinking absinthe for its taste and not for its effects.

    To call Czech absinth real is like calling Indian whiskey Scotch or Chinese brandy Cognac!

  2. January 24th, 2007 | 1:09 pm

    The best scotch does come from Indian though. How do you reconcile that with uh that?

    Czech absinthe is the real kind. What kind of fallacy are you going to try and pawn off on me next, that Grey Goose is not the real kind of Vodka?????

  3. January 24th, 2007 | 1:56 pm

    Don’t take my word for absinthe then. Check out

    or the Wikipedia article on absinthe.

    Re. Scotch: I lived in India for 3 years and sold Scotch there. I also ran a business there producing local whiskey. There’s a big difference – raw materials, length of time in barrels, quality control standards etc. But if you prefer Bagpiper to The Macallan, then good luck to you!

    And don’t get me going on vodka: it’s Jean-Marc XO Vodka for me! Like Grey Goose, it’s from France; unlike Grey Goose, it’s hand-crafted, distilled 9 times and slips down like silk.

  4. January 24th, 2007 | 2:06 pm

    Grey Goose is absolute crap, and it’s not Russian which means it’s fake crap.

    I’m just kidding, it’s fine. It will get you drunk just as well as “Vladimir” or “Rasputin” or “Mr. Boston.”

    Who am I to judge the veracity of your claims without being able to do proper due diligence? I’ll need to be furnished samples.

  5. January 24th, 2007 | 3:04 pm

    E-mail me privately!

  6. RC
    January 24th, 2007 | 4:13 pm


    All the booze talk made me crave a PBR.

  7. January 24th, 2007 | 6:35 pm

    Obviously I’ve done my Due Diligence. Jewel of Russia Ultra is hands down the best vodka I’ve ever tasted, and yes, I’ve McDrinky’ed alot of vodkas. I also like Chopin.

    Ironically Jenny Jones is an excellent portfolio manager. I like to pretend it’s the same person as the TV talk show host. Though I’ve never met with Jenny Jones, Virginie knows her portfolio cold. Virginie Maisonneuve is an excellent PM. Not only that, but she’s french and she likes to say things like “duh” even though she’s in her 40’s. And the item she “duh”ed was esoteric which just made her seem even smarter and I wish she was managing more money in the product I want to invest.

    Regardless, a friend of mine is a financial planner, and hires a woman to give seminars to women about financial planning by women, but really it’s for 2 dudes managing the money, she’s just speaking. In that case, you wouldn’t want to let the public know the dudes were managing he money right away.

    If your South Korean (is that considered south east or just east asia?) investments are kicking ass, you should tell everyone, and rub it in their faces.

  8. January 25th, 2007 | 10:02 pm

    “Speak of your past investments in a land war in Southeast Asia”

    Vizzini was my favorite character. Appreciate the reference.


  9. anonymous
    February 5th, 2007 | 2:38 pm

    what is with the dis on women? I bet many women could kick your ass (financially speaking). Gender bashing uncalled for esp since it was no where in the ad.

  10. February 5th, 2007 | 2:48 pm

    We use proprietary algorithms to get to these empirical truths. We don’t make up the facts we just report them. If I said the sky was blue, and you thought that was a dis on red, would you want me to say the sky is blue AND red?

    We have “thousands of years of traditional misogyny” behind us. Thousands of years of billions of people can’t be wrong, can they?

  11. Suspicious Mind
    February 9th, 2007 | 2:15 am

    I wonder if Alan works for a Swiss absinthe maker? This may account for his antipathy towards his competitors?

    I always understood that Swiss absinthe was made by farmers in cow sheds? I wonder what the fluid is like then? It is called “Clandestine” which means it must be some kind of rough monnshine style beverage? It is also clear, unlike the green absinthe which is coloured with wormwood and other herbs.

    I like the green Czech absinthe; high thujone content which gives a mighty kick.