Bad marketing comes in two flavors. There is poorly executed marketing that no one notices. Then there is insincere, dishonest, and misleading marketing that everyone notices. The first kind is a waste of your money, the second kind gives marketers a bad name.
I’ve written elsewhere on finding a good target market, selecting a winning brand promise, and engaging in conversational Web 2.0 marketing. If you do those things well you can largely avoid execution error.
Today we focus on an example of the second kind that was so breathtakingly awful I had to backtrack and take a picture of it.
This idiocy was on display outside of a jewelry store in the Houston airport last week. I’m not going to name the store – it would only encourage them. Lets look at what is wrong with this.
First – they actually have a stunningly simple promise – and that is powerful. Everyone likes a deal and if you have been away from home for a week or two a little jewelry would help ease re-entry. Of course one’s next thought is that they just jacked up the price on everything by 50% – so as promise it rings of insincerity. This is one step above the rug store in my old New York neighborhood that attracted tourists by “Going Out of Business” for the entire two years I lived there.
Second – they trumpet their insincerity with the “a few exclusions apply” small print at the bottom. They picked a promise they had no intention of actually delivering on – and they are open about that. This is a really bad idea.
Good marketers, sincere marketers, pick promises that the company can live up to. The goal is find something that you can organize the entire business around – even if it doesn’t end up as your slogan or in your advertising. McDonalds does affordable family food really well. Wal Mart delivers low prices. Pearson has one of everything you might need in a classroom (or they will buy it soon).
If these weasels really wanted to deliver on this promise here are a couple of things they could do to live up to it.
1. Actually price things at roughly 50% of their competitors – and have display ads the show comparisons to prove it to you.
2. Get rid of the items they are excluding – that way they can eliminate the small print retraction.
3. Have a price guarantee – if you find it at another jewelry store at list price for more they will match whatever half of that is.
I would rewrite the add to say “Lets keep it simple, half off everything. We’ll prove it and we guarantee it.”
Barring these actions all we have here is the kind of sleazy marketing that gives all marketers a black eye. If they can’t live up to this then they should keep looking for another promise that meets an urgent need of their target market. I guarantee there is something else they could do.
My guess is that the lie is so transparent that the campaign isn’t even working very well for them. What a waste.