Investing online? dont get played

Sep 25th '23

Dumb Money: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes new approach to cinema advertising and premieres innovative advert ahead of Hollywood’s chronicle of GameStop saga.


The FCA advert references online forum chats to raises awareness of hype in high-risk investments.


  • ‘Dumb Money’ tells the story of the notorious ‘David vs. Goliath’ battle resulting in huge speculative investments in video game retailer GameStop in early 2021.
  • The FCA’s advert will play during the ‘Gold Spot’ directly before the main feature, drawing on sensory techniques to pull viewers in with an apparent ‘once in a lifetime investment opportunity’.
  • It will be supported by digital screens in cinemas and display banners to encourage better-informed investment decisions as part of the FCA’s InvestSmart campaign.


The UK’s financial regulator, the FCA, is aiming to raise awareness of the risk associated with investment hype, by taking an innovative approach to cinema advertising. It has commissioned a unique advert linked to ‘Dumb Money’, a new film profiling the GameStop episode.


The FCA’s advert has been created to help consumers understand the impact that hype can have on investment decisions and encourages them to carry out careful research if tempted by an opportunity they find online. The advert is part of the FCA’s ongoing InvestSmart campaign.


Running during the premium ‘Gold Spot’ the advert leverages sensory deprivation in the cinema for optimum impact – lights down, a blank screen and an engaging voiceover. The voiceover starts to talk about a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some serious money’. It is then revealed that the anonymous tipster is in fact typing in an online forum, before the advert ends with the FCA’s call to action: ‘Don’t Get Played’. The FCA is supporting the main advert with digital screens in cinema foyers, and geo-targeted display ads – tailored to people who have visited cinemas, alongside ads in contextual locations online, where the target audience research investments. This makes the connection with audiences both before and after the film and reminds them what they should do before they invest.


The InvestSmart campaign encourages consumers to make better-informed investing decisions that suit their financial circumstances and attitude to risk.


Emma Stranack, Head of Content and Channels at the FCA, said: ‘The GameStop episode is a classic example of speculative investment driven by hype, and many investors suffered painful losses at the time. 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. This is the first time we’ve created a cinema advert tied-in with a specific film. The subject-matter is directly aligned to our target audience’s interests and the cinema provides a unique environment to capture their attention.’


Source: FCA


Further information

  1. The gold spot is the last 65 seconds following the trailers and just before a film begins.
  2. ‘Dumb Money’ is based on the true story of the GameStop share price episode. In early 2021, US video game retailer GameStop found itself at the centre of a speculative frenzy between major professional investors and small-scale individual investors. Hyped by tips on web-based message boards, individual investors bought large volumes of shares in a perceived ‘David v Goliath’ battle with professionals who expected the share price to fall. With massive volumes of shares changing hands daily driven by rumours, the share price fluctuated wildly for months, leaving some investors, large and small, severely out of pocket. UK-based investors opened over 1 million new trading app accounts during the first few months of 2021, half of these in January alone.
  3. The advert can be viewed on YouTube and below. The content was produced by DCM Studios



Need some promotional advice? If you want to understand more about how to make sure your marketing materials meet FCA standards, please click here.


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