This ad (in many variations) is all over the Web.

Who is this guy? A cult leader hiding from the authorities in some shack? The drummer of a forgotten 80’s hair band? Someone on death row?

He certainly doesn’t look like a homeowner who failed to take advantage of the government refinance plan.

There are only two explanations for this abomination:

1. The client/agency only cares about clicks, not conversions

A mugshot combined with boring but factual copy results in: “What the hell is this all about?” Some people will click and check it out, just for the fun of it. And bounce off immediately. No serious person in search for mortgage relief will trust LowerMyBills.com after associating a mugshot with house payments. Maybe the mugshot guy is the actual administrator you’re dealing with?

2. The client/agency believes it’s all about attention, not what impression you make

There are some disturbing commercials out there (kids peeing in the pool, remember?) but 99% of the time the disruption has something to do with the product/service. You’re looking at the 1%. Is it really ok to show a person that scares the living daylights out of me just to get some attention? Maybe. Does it convert? Never.

Well, there’s a third explanation…

3. I don’t understand anything about advertising and this has been the campaign with the highest conversion rate

Please let me know LowerMyBills.com. I would love to see the results and the thinking behind this campaign. If I’m wrong and this trash converted more people than any other, generic advertising, please let me know. I’ll close down shop. Not sure what I’ll do. Maybe I start at the bottom: Waving one of those arrows at the local tax return joints, wearing a Statue of Liberty costume.