Sunday, November 23, 2008

If you can't deliver on a promise, don't make it!

Pizza Hut has a new campaign - $6 pizzas every day. They even have a TV spot where someone drags in a "pizza special matrix", implying that you can only get a deal on pizza from certain restaurants on certain days. The other actor then dramatically destroys the matrix, pronouncing that Pizza Hut pizzas are $6, every day. 365 days a year.

Then they say at the end of the spot: "Prices may vary."

WHAT!?!?

You just said prices don't vary! You were quite adamant too.

This bothers me because I'm sure (since I spent some time in a franchise organization) there's some clause or some rule that gives individual Pizza Hut owners the freedom to set their own prices, necessitating the disclaimer. But if you make a claim with such conviction then can't back it up, you damage your brand reputation (remember when Ford said they could make a quality product?). Either refrain from the claim, or force individual business units to adhere to the market positioning.

Brand management is so delicate. Everything you say or do either enhances or weakens your brand reputation. Pizza Hut has done some damage to their brand here.


Have your say: Is a disclaimer statement like that influential enough to sway someone's opinion about a brand promise?

4 comments:

Ben said...

Maybe not the disclaimer. But when you go to the local Pizza Hut and get said deal and receive a bill for 8$ per pizza not 6$. That will sway opinions.

Found some posts of deal seekers responses.

http://www.redflagdeals.com/deals/main.php/alldeals/comments/pizza_hut_mia_medium_1_topping_pizzas_3_for_18

Glenn Cressman said...

I saw the posts on the RedFlagDeals page you sent - all 10 comments were negative! Just goes to show that if you fall short on promises, you probably shouldn't have made it in the first place.

Carmi said...

Rampant misuse of fine print is the quickest way to destroy customer trust. And once it's gone, it's never coming back.

It amazes me that so many customer-facing organizations fail to grasp this very simple concept. They routinely force customers through the wringer, then wonder why they don't return for seconds and thirds.

As I watch the Big 3 beg for their lives on Capitol Hill, I can't help but wonder that their plight is at least partially attributable to generations of promising one thing in the headlines, delivering another in real life, then referring to the fine print as a means of explaining it all away.

Glenn Cressman said...

Car companies are notorious - you're right! This is one of my "soapbox" topics - the ridiculousness of fine print in TV spots for car companies. It's at least 14 lines long and so small that NO ONE will EVER read it! Why even have it? I understand the importance of disclosure, but I don't understand how anyone can believe that presenting it in that form will actually serve any purpose. Even if you have PVR and HD, I would challenge you to read it (because the type is so small) even while it's on pause. "Certain restriction apply - see store for details" would suffice, as it does in other industries.

BETTER YET, CREATE A PRICING MODEL THAT REQUIRES NO DISCLOSURE! THE PRICE IS THE PRICE, THAT'S IT. NO SMALL PRINT. NO HIDDEN FEES. IMAGINE THAT! (think iTunes!)