New H&R Block ad campaign giddily invites tax payers into the fold.

January 25, 2013

A gal walks into an H&R Block store and informs the accountant she hasn’t filed her taxes in years, dumping boxes of paperwork on his desk. At which point, the H&R Block Rep tells her to “bring it on!” He claims her unpaid taxes are “like a puzzle.” He is downright giddy at the prospect of getting this woman “the biggest tax refund possible.”

Hmmm. I should think the strategy is keeping her out of jail.

Regardless, H&R Block’s new ad campaign from Fallon seems hell bent on promising a super positive outcome to any would-be taxpayers who traipse through their doors.

In a second spot, another exuberant H&R Block professional informs us that many people don’t know the “Affordable Health Care Act and Taxes are connected.” Not to worry, the woman says. She read the entire 900 pages. “It literally took me weeks.” She knows the law. She has a solution. “We’re going to see this through together.” All smiles this one.

Crisply shot in arresting black and white, these presumably real accountants are explosively happy. Imagine Match.com trying to hook up taxpayers and accountants. That’s the vibe of these spots.

It’s a good myth. If I were in (or potentially in) deep shit with the IRS I would cry tears of joy knowing my salvation is so easily available and happily provided. I’m genuinely surprised that H&R Block can legally make claims like these about filing claims like those. Let alone be so happy about it.

But I’m not the Better Business Bureau. Like I said, this is a good myth for the brand. Maybe even a grand one. Not only does the campaign mitigate the fear and loathing wrapped up in taxes it does a similar job on H&R Block’s arguably tired and crummy image. Rightly or wrongly, I still think of them as being a pop up store in a strip mall, between the currency exchange and Pita Hut. The protagonists in these TVC’s do not look like they work at a place like that. Along those same lines, it seems like H&R Block aspires to do far more complicated tax work than ever before. I recall going there a year into my first job, before marriage, children, homeownership and a zillion other things made filing my taxes a complicated nightmare. Perhaps this new H&R Block wants me back.

About these ads

9 Responses to “New H&R Block ad campaign giddily invites tax payers into the fold.”

  1. thanks for your perspective. I’m a lawyer, and it’s always intrigued me that businesses can make such outrageous claims with impunity. Sure, their lawyers gave them a green light. But, seriously!!!!

  2. Kathleen Cobb said

    I think this year’s ads are the worst things I’ve ever seen! The people in them are supposedly “real” agents, and I’m so sick of seeing them already, with almost three months to go in “tax season”! They are disgusting, ugly people, and they aren’t funny!

  3. VernonT said

    Kathleen, I saw one of my coworkers in an ad tonight. So yes, they are real H&R Block tax preparers. They’re not supposed to be funny. And if you find real people disgusting and ugly, well we can’t all be Brangelina.
    As to the statement in the story about real “accountants,” umm… no, you don’t have to be an accountant to prepare taxes. In fact, very few accountants are well-enough versed in tax law to be able to prepare tax returns competently.
    Kristi, you apparently don’t know much about tax law. Take a couple CLE courses for your own benefit.

  4. Steve Lot said

    Yes, the “ugly” nerdy looking man with the green bow tie is a legitimate tax preparer. His name is Richard Gartland and he works for an office in California. Regardless of the advertisement H&R Block uses, the fact remains that H&R is trying to HELP people. Take their FREE second look review, for example. Bring your last 3 years of tax returns to the office, they will look them over free of charge and see if there are any additional monies that have been overlooked. If they find additional monies you are entitled to, there is a paperwork fee, but this is FREE money. Of course it’s worth the time it takes to get you money that you earned and deserve! If you are against getting money that is yours, continue hating on H&R Block. But like I stated before, they really are just here to help.

  5. Roflmao said

    “We Make You Want what You don’t Need! ROFLMAO! I enjoyed your article immensely! But, in all fairness, That was almost” as good as their Get Your Billion Back Americahh”. I saw that and thought Wow! Their as savvy as mc donalds! But they both make you sick. Maybe they should, change the vision from a hot dog vendor toting cash….To dumping a loose billion (in $20s) over the stadium, from a Freight Copter, atop 40 thousand baseball FANS”……You write very well.

  6. Roflmao said

    By the way, you write very well, and I’m sure a few heard my laughter” ……I haven’t seen yet the ad I hear mentioned. But I must say the ad is better than a tax preparing bungle. In the end we all know Mac Donalds and hr block love people and their health”. Eat at your own peril.

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