LendingTree “Great Scott”

Alone in a bedroom, a man is reflected in a mirror as if wearing a peculiar outfit and an equally peculiar mask. Under the circumstances, viewers will probably be relieved that there turns out to be nothing more sordid going on than a financial-services sales pitch — in this case for LendingTree via Boston-based Mullen. Adam West delivers the voiceover, and he’s been furnished with rhetoric apparently designed to remind viewers of his long-ago (but never-forgotten!) role as Batman. Addressing the protagonist as “Scott,” West remarks that “A wave of financial tomfoolery has been unleashed upon us,” but promises “these corporate mischief-makers will meet their match.” When the mirror shows this otherwise milquetoast character in the garb of a superhero, West addresses him as “not just Scott” but “Great Scott” (a standard superhero locution.) Onscreen type remarks on his transformation with the line, “You to the rescue.” You can see what they’re getting at: People know that no cape-clad superhero is going to rescue their finances, and that (with assistance from a company like LendingTree) they’ll have to do the job themselves. But with West’s voiceover evoking the campy tone of the Batman TV show, the serious message has trouble getting through. Even when the economy is sound, camp isn’t really a quality one seeks in a financial-services company — and still less so when the going is rough. By the time another, non-superhero voiceover speaks of LendingTree as a source of “New financial tools to take on a new financial world,” the viewer may be too immersed in the spot’s superhero/comic-book shtick to take in the grown-up message. –Mark Dolliver