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Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Huh?! I Never Ordered This!"

Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Huh?! I Never Ordered This!"

September 23, 2008

Creative or Deceptive? You decide ...

The desire to increase sales often leads us into some very gray areas where there doesn't always seem to be a clear right or wrong answer. I tackle a dilemma each month and then I want to hear what you would do. Send your comments to me at JonGoldman@BrandLauncher.com. Then, next month I will give you my take on whether it was creative or deceptive.

This month's dilemma ... Huh?! I never ordered this!

This is what's called in the marketing biz as an 'assumptive close'. The offer assumes you're already so interested in the product that you'll buy. This one even goes so far as to imply tha the recipient ordered something!

The envelope says in big bold letters: 'Here is your LasikPlus Vision Correction Appointment Kit.'

You can see how it would grab your attention if you never ordered it. You'd certainly want to open it (which is the intent!) and inside you learn that the 'kit' is really just a promotion for prospects to make an appointment.

What do you think? Is that just savvy marketing or is it deceptive advertising? Send me an email at JonGoldman@BrandLauncher.com.

Last month's dilemma

Bargain of a Lifetime?

While shopping for a digital video camera I searched online to buy a Canon recommended by Consumer Reports. Of course, I could pay $999 to buy directly from Canon but I was blown away to see ads on Google for the same camera for only $339. Boy, was I excited!

It wasn't until I called to order when I became suspicious. I was put on hold for 20 minutes ' how's that for customer service?! When I finally did get someone on the phone, I learned that I would just be paying for a camera, nothing else! I wouldn't get the manufacturer's warranty, information manual, software, battery, power adapter and cables. Everything I would need to run the camera was not included. By the time, I would have ordered the 'add-ons', I would have perhaps paid more than if I would have just bought it from the manufacturer.

Search on Google for just about any commodity and you'll see companies listing ads at super-discounted prices. But those prices are for stripped down versions of what you're looking for, and may not give you everything you need to use the product.

What do you think? Is that just savvy marketing or is it deceptive advertising?


My response: Deceptive. They're not interested in serving customers! I got suspicious when I was put on hold for 20 minutes. They're obviously not interested in serving anyone but themselves. They're interested in making as many sales as possible and they don't seem to care if they're duping customers.

It gets worse. I did find another company that would supply everything I wanted at a great price, but get this! I would have to wait a few days because it would he shipped from another country or I could get it right away if I upgraded to the premium package for another $200! That's old-fashioned bait and switch!

And that's deceptive!