FCA to raise ‘dumb money’ awareness ahead of GameStop Saga movie release

Rick Steves

“This new film gives us the perfect opportunity to encourage less experienced investors to understand the risks, avoid hype and do the necessary research before they invest.”

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking a unique approach to raise awareness about the risks associated with investment hype.

In collaboration with the cinema world, the FCA has commissioned an innovative advertisement tied to the release of ‘Dumb Money,’ a forthcoming film that delves into the GameStop investment frenzy of early 2021. This unconventional cinema ad is designed to engage audiences and encourage better-informed investment decisions as part of the FCA’s ongoing InvestSmart campaign.

“Don’t Get Played”

The FCA’s advert, set to air during the coveted ‘Gold Spot’ just before the main feature, capitalizes on the sensory experience of the cinema. It utilizes sensory deprivation—dimmed lights, a blank screen, and an engaging voiceover—to create an impactful narrative. The voiceover tantalizingly presents a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some serious money.” However, a twist is revealed when it becomes apparent that the anonymous tipster is actually typing in an online forum. The advert concludes with the FCA’s call to action: “Don’t Get Played.”

The FCA’s innovative approach doesn’t stop at the cinema screen. It is supplemented by digital screens in cinema foyers and geo-targeted display ads tailored to those who have recently visited cinemas. These ads extend the message beyond the film, ensuring that audiences are reminded of the importance of conducting thorough research before making investment decisions.

The InvestSmart campaign, which this cinema ad is a part of, aims to empower consumers to make well-informed investment choices aligned with their financial circumstances and risk tolerance. The FCA recognizes that the GameStop episode serves as a quintessential example of speculative investment fueled by hype, leading to significant losses for many investors. With ‘Dumb Money’ hitting the big screen, the FCA seizes this opportunity to educate less experienced investors, urging them to grasp the risks, avoid hype, and prioritize due diligence in their investment endeavors.

“Understand the risks, avoid hype and do the necessary research”

Emma Stranack, Head of Content and Channels at the FCA, highlighted the cinema’s uniqueness in capturing the audience’s attention. She noted, “This new film gives us the perfect opportunity to encourage less experienced investors to understand the risks, avoid hype and do the necessary research before they invest.”

It marks the first time the FCA has created a cinema advert tied to a specific film, aligning the subject matter directly with the interests of the target audience.

The GameStop saga, portrayed in the film ‘Dumb Money,’ unraveled in early 2021 when US video game retailer GameStop became the focal point of a speculative frenzy.

Small-scale individual investors, inspired by online message board tips, engaged in a perceived ‘David vs. Goliath’ battle with major professional investors who anticipated a drop in the share price.

The resulting whirlwind of trading activity led to wild fluctuations in GameStop’s share price, ultimately causing financial losses for investors large and small. In the UK alone, over one million new trading app accounts were opened in the initial months of 2021, half of them in January.

By leveraging the cinema environment and sensory engagement, the FCA aims to instill a sense of caution and promote diligent research among investors. As the film ‘Dumb Money’ brings the GameStop saga to the silver screen, the FCA seizes this moment to ensure that viewers grasp the potential pitfalls of speculative investments and make more informed choices in their financial journey.

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