June 2, 2022

Risky Business? SEC Launches Game Show Themed PSAs

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy announced yesterday that it was launching a series of game show themed PSAs to help investors make informed decisions and avoid fraud. The SEC’s press release makes it crystal clear that this program is being launched with the best of intentions:

One of the goals of the Investomania campaign, which features a 30-second TV spot, 15-second informational videos on crypto assets, margin calls, and guaranteed returns, and interactive quizzes, is to reach existing, new, and future investors of all ages. The campaign encourages investors to research investments and get information from trustworthy sources to understand the risks before investing. The campaign also reminds investors to take advantage of the free financial planning tools and information on, the SEC’s resource for investor education.

That being said, I’m not sure how these PSAs are going to play with their target audience.  I’m skeptical that the SEC is “reading the room” well when it comes to the tone of the ads. After all, this campaign comes on the heels of a massive two-year surge in the number of new stock market investors, many of whom have taken a pretty big hit to their wallets over the past several months.

Since that’s the case, I think there’s a risk that a fair number of those investors are going to feel belittled by some of the content – particularly the videos lampooning meme stock & crypto investors. The early returns from social media suggest that’s exactly what’s happening.

John Jenkins