Not all marketing is GOOD marketing

You walk out to your car. You find you have a parking ticket. You KNOW you didn’t park in a ticketing zone, but there it is: a bright green PARKING TICKET. What’s your reaction?

If you answered “I’d be mad”, then you’re just like the dozen other people we interviewed. How mad would you be if you opened the ticket and discovered it isn’t really a parking ticket, but instead it is an advertisement for a local vendor? Would you still be mad?

This is the “clever” ad that one Richmond business has sprinkled on windshields in downtown recently. The outside of the ad is a familar, bright green wrapper, clearly labeled “PARKING TICKET” and stamped with a return address form so you think it’s real.

Inside you find a standard parking ticket system printed ticket. The only difference is the wording. While the format looks official and nearly identical to the real McCoy, the actual words tell you “you have a nice car” and “you probably have a nice house” and “you probably would like some of our nice product in your nice house.”

We surveyed a number of people here in the building and every single one of them was angered by the ticket (we told them it was on their car) and then even angrier when then discovered it wasn’t a ticket afterall, but an ad.

The salespeople we talked to said “I’d never want to talk to a customer that was brought in by that ad,” because, they said “they’d be pissed.”

I couldn’t agree more.

It’s a clever marketing gimmick, but it isn’t a very good one. Sometimes any marketing is better than no marketing, but this is one of those rare exceptions. You want new customers, not angry people looking to sue you.

Whoever decided this was a good idea did not have a marketing company helping them. If they did, the idea would never have fit into a strategy since, although it does increase awareness, it does so with a negative impact. That same creativity should have been channeled by a real marketing firm or internal effort towards an equally-impactful but positive effort.

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One Response to “Not all marketing is GOOD marketing”

  1. Randy Wyckoff Says:

    So, aside from the need to hire a marketing firm, what kind of an marketing concept would it have been if the envelope had said, This Is Not A parking Ticket!

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