24 March 2006

Bad advertising

There is a car dealership in the area where I live. They are actually a series of dealerships, under the same name, you know ________ ________ Toyota, ______ _______ Dodge Chrysler, etc. They also sell a lot of trucks, Dodge, Ford and the rest. They call themselves the Truck HQ. I won't tell you the name, but it rhymes with Zen Barff. (which is not what emotionally well-balanced supermodels do to lose weight.)

They also raise my hackles every time I hear one of their ads on the radio. I listen to a lot of radio during the day, as I work at a desk job. They have several different commercials, but all of them feature one device: they "call" someone and brag about how good they are. The someone that they call is most often a "competitor" named Marty, whose dealership apparently is so well known that it has no name, it is simply "Dodge Trucks," and he answers the phone himself. Yet it is so inferior to Zen Barff Dodge Truck HQ that it is continually being undersold by them.

The other "calls" that Zen Barff people make are to customers of other dealerships. These are customers who have recently bought a vehicle that is identical to one that is currently being sold by ZB at a lower price that the customer paid. The ZB people call up and tell these ostensible customers what a rotten deal they got, and what a much better deal awaited them at ZB, if only they had come there, not to X dealership.

I guess my problem is that I was taught that it was not polite to mock others for being stupid, or incompetent, or whatever. I might have a responsibility to teach someone in those cases, but even if I don't, it is not right to literally try to profit from the mistakes of others. Now, these "others" are fictional, but the premise is not. When I hear one of these commercials, I want to change the station, not buy a Dodge truck from Zen Barff.

Whatever happened to advertising where the ad merely showcased the benefits of the product? What happened to advertising that Ivory soap is 99.44% Pure, so pure it floats!? No matter that it floats because of the extra air whipped into it during manufacturing. At least they tout only the positive about their product, they don't start telling everyone that Lava doesn't work as well because it is made with pumice, so it won't float.

It reminds me of political ads, in which the only recognizable theme is "My Opponent Stinks! I have it on good authority that he never bathes and only rarely changes his clothes. He even sleeps in them!" I despise this type of advertising in politics, too.

I don't have all the answers, but someone needs to tell Zen Barff that these ads are offensive. If I ever got a call from someone like that, my first impulse would be to ask where they had been while I was buying, as it does little good to call me aftery my purchase and berate me for having gotten a worse deal that what they were offering. Second, I would inform Zen Barff that I would not only never buy a car there, but that I would recommend that none of my friends ever shop there, all because of the offensive nature of this phone call!

The whole thing just irritates the heck out of me.

OK, Rant Off. Besides, everyone I have spoklen to about this tells me they think I am crazy.
So you get it, since if you are reading this, you probably have to.