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Examining an Advertisement for Silver


In the 5/24/19 edition of the USA Today newspaper, in the Money section, I noticed an interesting advertisement for silver. This article will examine this advertisement.

Here are some images of the advertisement. Please click the images to expand them:


Now let's dig into some of the content.

The vocabulary used gives a sense of urgency and rareness and exclusivity: deadline to call, struggling, cashing in, a rush, lowest ever, immediately, scrambling, steal, breaking news, small fortune, hoarding, next two days, states not listed sold out, etc. We also see the "vault" is made to look official with security, authorized personnel only, "Federated" and "Mint" (to purposefully confuse with "federal" and "U.S. Mint"?), 'those who get in on it now are really smart', etc. In fact, the way Withrow is quoted is made to lend to that official appearance (emeritus Treasurer, mentioning United States of America, executive advisor, etc.). The zip code gimmick is interesting. Of course, most people in those states have those zip codes.

I can't help but notice that it is very odd to call a half troy oz bar of silver "heavy". More marketing. To say the standard for a half a troy oz of silver is $50 and that their price of $29 is therefore a steal is also odd if not completely outrageous. The market price for a full troy oz of silver was, at the date of the newspaper, about $15, so the market price for a half troy oz of silver was about $7.50. So I agree that $29 for a half troy oz of silver is a steal, but for the seller not for the buyer.

As of 6/6/19, the Federated Mint webpage is selling 1 troy oz of silver for $136. The market price today for 1 troy oz of silver is still about $15.

Despite the fact that the paid advertisement has disclaimers, I call ripoff. All these types of ads do is mislead newbie investors, while the newspaper and the private mint company cash in on their ignorance. The company and USA Today should instead be educating the newbie investors, especially in a finance section of a newspaper, where a typical reader would naturally expect education and information instead of being ripped off.


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