Experian Tried To Replace the FreeCreditReport.com Band, Then Had To Bring Them Back

Dan Clarendon - Author
By

Aug. 30 2022, Published 5:38 a.m. ET

Now that they’ve been off the TV for a while, one has to wonder, what happened to the FreeCreditReport.com band? You know, the one that lit up late-2000s TV commercials with verses like “They say a man should always dress for the job he wants / So why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant? / It’s all because some hackers stole my identity / Now I’m in here every evening, serving chowder and iced tea.”

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Mick Jagger once joked on Saturday Night Live that the band was his favorite musical group, perhaps wooed by this indelible rhyme scheme: “Well, I was shopping for a new car / Which one’s me: a cool convertible or an SUV? / Too bad I didn’t know my credit was whack / Because now I’m driving off the lot in a used subcompact / F-R-E-E, that spells free / Creditreport.com, baby.” Turns out, the lead singer of the FreeCreditScore.com wasn’t even the one singing in the commercials!

Eric Violette played the lead singer in the commercials, but Dave Muhlenfeld sang the vocals

freecreditreport com commercial
Source: Experian

In 2014, Complex investigated the FreeCreditReport.com ad campaign and found that the band’s lead singer is Eric Violette, who credits his appearance in the commercials with jumpstarting his off-screen music career as the frontman of the band God Against God. “Now I have a professional studio in my basement,” he told the site. “I’m a f—king lucky bastard. It allowed me to learn a lot. I would never have been able to do that on my own. The commercials were a way to push the band.”

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The singing voice you hear in the commercials, however, doesn’t belong to Violette, who has a French-Canadian accent in real life. Instead, the vocals came from Dave Muhlenfeld, the man who wrote the jingles through his work as VP and creative director of the Martin Agency. “We thought of who is always broke,” Muhlenfeld told Complex, recalling the origin of the FreeCreditReport.com band campaign. “Broke, hipster musicians were at the top of the list.”

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Coincidentally, Muhlenfeld also had a basement studio, which is where he was working on music for his band, This Is Society Dance Music. “That’s the dream,” he joked. “To move from 30 second pop songs to 3 minute 30 second pop songs.”

After a nationwide search, a new band briefly replaced the original group

In 2010, FreeCreditReport.com parent company Experian picked new musicians for its new brand, FreeCreditScore.com, with the band Victorious Secret winning a nationwide search. “We wanted a real band who were very talented musicians, but who could take a tongue-in-cheek approach to the commercials in a way that could tell a story and be embraced by a wide population,” Chris Moloney, who was senior VP/chief marketing officer for the U.S. consumer direct-business unit of Experian, told Billboard.

By 2012, however, Violette and the rest of the original trio—Vincent Charron and Mario Telaro—returned for additional FreeCreditScore.com commercials by popular demand, as Experian spokesperson Ken Chaplin told HuffPost. “The entertainment value and the affinity and place that the original band earned in the hearts of America in pure entertainment value was what people enjoyed,” Chaplin said. “They’re less concerned with the musical ability of the individuals.”

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