Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
I'm not commenting one way or the other on recent discussions regarding Carfax's advertising campaigns. The only thing that I will say is that it sure has garnered a lot of interest from the community. If dealers are being represented poorly in an ad campaign they should respond and vehemently defend themselves, right? Makes sense, until you see this...
Enter Microsoft IE 10 from stage left...
I'm a big fan of self-deprecating humor, most likely because I'm such an easy target, but I don't even know about this. Is it funny? Yes. Does it make me want to drop Firefox and download IE? You might be surprised.
I took the bait and got hooked. I was thinking to myself, "How in the world can this HELP Microsoft? How do you advertise a negative perception of your product and turn it into a positive?" Guess what, Microsoft is using reviews... http://browseryoulovedtohate.com/testimonials WIRED, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Mashable, Ars Technica, ZDNet... Trusted sources that are endorsing their experience with IE10, some reinforcing that the experience is FAR BETTER than they thought it would be.
I'm not suggesting that you hit the airwaves with an "Our Dealership SUCKS... Less" campaign, but I do think it is interesting and worth considering that there is a reason that a campaign like that is effective for other advertisers. Domino's Pizza did a similar thing not too long ago.
When asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of people from different fields on the most recent GALLUP Poll, unfortunately public perception of the car salesperson hasn't changed since 1976. The dubious distinction of least trustworthy is still ours to claim, and add insult to injury, not even a much maligned Representative of Congress in a year full of mudslinging political ads can unseat our industry's front line representatives. You can see the poll here. It is debatable whether or not Carfax is perpetuating a stereotype, but we can say with certainty that they aren't responsible for creating that stereotype, they are merely tapping into an existing distrust the industry continues to combat. If tapping into that distrust is working for them, can it work for you?
Here's the final thought: Would it help to take a WebPage out of Microsoft's book and start from a position of unlikely agreement? Might it put your unsold prospects at ease to say, "Mr. Customer, you've probably heard that this is going to be a horrible experience, right? That we're out to get you, and want your firstborn even, am I right? Well, here are 100 people just like you that didn't have THAT experience HERE at XYZ motors, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure YOU are number 101. Sound Good?"