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Adviser Ratings apologises after David Bowie gaffe

Consumer adviser review site Adviser Ratings has apologised after a blog it published yesterday was accused of using musician David Bowie's death to create a "tacky marketing message" by one media industry trade publication.

The blog on the Adviser Ratings' website was intended to be a preview of 2016, but also referenced the passing of David Bowie and drew parallels to innovation in financial planning.

"Financial advisers need not fear any unsettling changes in the industry. If you think this is the way things are going, it makes sense to be open and explore what new opportunities such changes may bring so you don't become another Major Tom. We will certainly be doing all we can to make sense of, and help compliment the industry as we all move forward through 2016! RIP David Bowie," blogger and Adviser Ratings operations manager Rodney Lester wrote.

Marketing and media trade publication Mumbrella picked up on the blog, deeming it "crass" in a response post on its own website.

"Imagine you're the person in charge of writing the marketing messages for a financial advice site. Topical is good, right? What's topical? David Bowie," a Mumbrella writer said.

"So why not turn the lyrics of one of his songs into a topical marketing message? No brand would be crass enough to do that, would they? Step forward Adviser Ratings."

The response to the blog on the Adviser Ratings website was mixed, with one reader calling the post "cheap and inappropriate", while another said "I find it a decent tribute and clever. I am a big fan of David Bowie and it seems these guys are as well. Chill all you fuddie duddies!"


Despite standing by the post and calling it the organisation's "tribute" to Bowie, Adviser Ratings managing director Angus Woods apologised for any offence.

"It seems to have hit a bit of chord, albeit not as we anticipated," Mr Woods told ifa.

"It seems that our intended tribute as an organisation to David Bowie and his pioneering ways was met with some unintended reactions. We were drawing parallels to the efforts of David Bowie in his life and how his ability to maintain relevancy is a good lesson for financial planners. I appreciate it is an emotive subject."

Mr Woods said that while reactions had been mixed, Adviser Ratings had made the decision to not delete anybody's comments.