The Free Credit Report Band is Dead; Relive Its Top Five Most Annoying Commercials

You've groaned at the poor sap stuck working in a fish joint. You've cringed as he's serenaded a renaissance fair. You've run for the bathroom when he roped his friends in for a gleeful group chorus about bicycles. Hopefully, though, you didn't actually get snowed into signing up for the site for which the Free Credit Report guy shilled, which, of course, starts charging a recurring monthly service fee if you forget to cancel the "trial" you begin with that first free score.

It's been three years of this particular ad campaign's reign of terror, with its ultra-annoying, but still ultra-unforgettable cameos by a made-up band. Well, actually, the Free Credit Report guy is a 29-year-old Quebecois named Eric Violette, who, in his non-commercial life, is a classical music enthusiast who has mostly appeared in French-language short films and plays. He seems like a modest enough guy, judging by web-site-design alone, but boy, did we rejoice when we saw a late-night commercial for the same site, announcing his ouster.

The good/bad news? A new act will soon take his brain-torturing place -- and that act could be yours! Free Credit Report's parent company, Experian, is shifting its focus to credit scores, rather than reports, and to launch its new site, FreeCreditScore.com, it's looking for a new spokesband. Live band searches were already held in New York, Chicago, and L.A., but late last week, the company opened up the contest to everyone, via online submissions.

No, you don't get to write your own jingle. You have to learn one of their five new selections, and wow, are they just as annoying as the last! Sample title: "Jock-Strapped!" Sample lyric from said song: "Now he's jock-strapped for cash, all because he's got a credit score that looks like ... assssss-k me again!" Record yourself playing, upload it, and use all those usual social networking channels to try to garner votes.

Let's review just how you could end up, though. Here are the top five annoying Free Credit Report commercials.

5. "Rollercoaster"

This relatively late entry into the ad campaign starts out with a spoken slacker-white-boy rap, for which we can blame early-period Beck. It's not so bad, though, until that titular rollercoaster takes a dive, and the requisite chant-singing starts.

4. "Cell Phone"

Well, Metro PCS and Boost Mobile


updating their handset offerings....

3. "Bicycle"

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Really, no sympathy for his botched attempt at being "eco-friendly" here. The real green, recycling-type way to go would be to get a used bike through something like Craigslist, which usually involves a transaction of conveniently credit-free cash. Add some points for promoting bicycles in general, but then subtract them all, plus some, for the ending chorus which musically spells out each letter of that site whose search engine rankings we don't need to boost again.

2. "Restaurant"

"They say a man should always dress for the job he wants...." You can already finish the rest, right? Utterly maddening. (Let's not even go into the confusing narrative that the guy couldn't get a job because of bad credit. Well, maybe that happens in the world of "real" jobs, which apparently do not include alt-weekly music blogging.)

1. "Ren Faire"

One of the earliest, and arguably the most obnoxious, the spot doesn't really make much narrative sense. Our unlucky protagonist, apparently, felt alone in his morass of bad credit, and attempted to go somewhere where it wouldn't matter. Apparently, this meant a large-scape, commercial form of LARPing. Why not just stick around in an American McSuburb, where everyone's credit is shot anyways? Oh, best not to analyze it -- we can't think over the carefully calibrated two-note sing-song of that late-commercial phrase, "since we first showed up with our pirate hats on."

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