Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When this happens, I'm ashamed to call myself a marketer

I choose to believe that most marketers are good.

Most believe in accurately, appropriately and professionally representing their brands in order to generate genuine demand based on valid product value.

Then this happens, and it tarnishes our reputation.

The decent among us step out of our comfort zone and curse them.

This company is assuming, or at least hoping, that consumers are stupid.

This is a scratch-and-win (looking) card which appeared in my mailbox today. You are meant to believe, like with any other scratch-and-win game, that if you uncover a certain result, you win the corresponding prize.

Not so in this case.

In this case, you are CERTAIN to uncover a "winning" pattern. Once you do, you "may" win one of the listed prizes. All you have to do, of course, is call the "prize hotline" to find out what you CAN win.

I'm sure this company (they never reveal themselves, interestingly) is hoping that people say "Sure! Let's call the number to see what I won!" Hoping that the customer does NOT read the fine print.

I read it.

First of all, the prizes listed are "available at the outset of the game; prizes diminish as prizes are awarded" - their way of saying 'we can decide who gets the best prizes'. How are prizes allocated you ask? Well, they are "determined by the company's master list" - their way of saying 'we can assign you whatever prize we wish'. Oh, and if the prize is "unavailable, sponsor may substitute" - their way of saying 'you may not even get one of the prizes you were expecting'. Then, in order to claim this mystery prize, you need to agree to a "product presentation". Ah, yes, of course I do.

OK, so now on to the odds of winning: 1 in 800,000 for the grand prize (but don't forget, it has probably been preferentially "awarded" to someone else, or the prize may have been magically substituted for something else); 875 in 1000 (that means almost 9 out of 10) for the hotel stay. Ah, that's where they get you. You are almost certainly awarded the hotel stay "prize". They lure you with the thought of a free vacation, then force you to endure their "presentation" - the ensuing barrage of pressure sales tactics for whatever it is they're pushing (which is never mentioned, by the way).

Makes me want to puke.

Who is oblivious enough to fall for this?

More importantly (to me), how do the marketers that conjured up this scam sleep at night?

They have no integrity. No morality. No professionalism. No dignity.

Sadly, they can call themselves marketers, as I do.

I am ashamed to be associated with them by any description.

So endeth my rant for the day.

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