In the race to the bottom, it seems our local car dealers have forgotten all about respect — for us and for them.
My question for car dealers is this: How do you wake up one morning and convince yourself that you, your wife, your, kid, or your dog are attractive enough, smart enough, or talented enough to make potential customers feel good about buying a car from you? And that’s only one of the violations committed by our auto dealer friends on a regular basis.
Hour after hour, day after day, one dealer after another trots out their version of badvertising. Often a combination of a bad home movie and fifth grade stand-up comedy, these mini-insults on our intelligence stream into our homes and feature one or more of the following:
- “Sincerity”. These gems usually involve a dealer attempting to prove to us just what a kind and decent guy they are. They often ignore the fact that their personal appearance reinforces every negative stereotype of a car dealer, look into the lens and make the pitch that they are more honest than Abe Lincoln — and promise to get you a great deal.
- Stupid Humor. Drag out the Oscar for these amateur attempts at humor that feature the same campy yuks that most of us grew out of in our early teens. “He just wants to get you a-loan!” “Seriously folks – tell your friends, I’m here all weekend”. Next!
- Family and Friends. These dealers are among the most sophisticated. They are at least aware of the fact that they can’t carry off sincerity or believability, so they drag out the relatives. It’s a shot at the Best Supporting Actress statuette for the wife and daughter. A bit of good-natured banter from more people who can’t act their way onto the stage of a high-school play fork over thousands of dollars to air their insipid version of a home movie (or Comcast’s version, which is equally low in production value). One of the latest shows a husband and wife “acting out” an exchange about the wife’s exasperation at not being able to get the husband to listen to her advice. Think we’re at the bottom? Here comes the family dog. Lowest possible point? Let’s make that little flea-bag talk!
My point is – there are plenty of ways to reach car buyers without insulting their intelligence. Even within a small production budget. It just seems that most car dealers aren’t able to take a step back and look at the big marketing picture. If they did, there’s no telling what kind of impact it might have on their bottom lines.
And if you are a dealer of luxury cars, you should be even more concerned about avoiding badvertising. For more on that topic, take a look at our recent post about a local Lexus dealer’s billboard.