FCA advert screens before “Dumb Money” movie to warn film fans of investment risks

The advert is part of the InvestSmart campaign which encourages consumers to make better-informed decision.

The UK regulator has taken a new approach to cinema advertising and premieres innovative advert ahead of Hollywood’s chronicle of GameStop.

The FCA commissioned advertising linked to “Dumb Money”, a new film profiling the GameStop saga directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, featuring an ensemble cast including Paul Dano, America Ferrera and Seth Rogen. The advert references online forum chats to raise awareness of hype in high-risk investments.

This is the first time the UK regulator has created a cinema advert tied to a specific film.

“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.”

Emma Stranack, FCA

During the “Gold Spot”, directly before the main feature, viewers will see an advert which 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 – but 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.

InvestSmart campaign

The advert is part of the FCA’s ongoing InvestSmart campaign, to encourage consumers to make better-informed investing decisions that suit their financial circumstances and attitude to risk. The initiative targets new and inexperienced investors to help them understand the impact that hype can have on investment decisions and encourages them to carry out careful research if tempted by an online opportunity and to avoid scams.

In early 2021, US video game retailer GameStop was at the center of a speculative frenzy between major professional investors and small-scale individual investors.

Hyped by tips on web-based message boards, individuals 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 rumors, the share price fluctuated wildly for months, leaving some investors, large and small, severely out of pocket, the FCA said.

It said UK-based investors opened more than one million new trading app accounts during the first few months of 2021, half of these in January alone.

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 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.”

“Dumb Money” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2023, and was released in the US in select theaters on September 15, 2023, before expanding into a wide release on September 29, 2023. The film opened in the UK on September 23, 2023.