Blog: Dave LeggettWalk-ups, Viagra and a free t-shirt

Dave Leggett | 6 December 2006

Here's a bizarre one that landed in the old Inbox recently - a press release about a promo campaign being run by an online magazine in the US that is aimed at dealers. If you sign up there's a free t-shirt with a printed slogan that contains a Viagra-derived play on words. I guess it will get a certain amount of attention (hmm...self-fulfilling prophecy I suppose, on my part, now).

And I guess Rhetoric Advertising is trying to get as much attention for its client and the campaign as it can, with as much subtlety as it can muster. But, as I say, a slightly bizarre release, reproduced below. Is the complainant real and was her permission sought for the reproduction of her e-mail in a press release? Maybe the Tom Clark Auto Family likes the publicity...

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Online Automotive News Magazine Causes Controversy with Dealer-Targeted Promotion

NEW YORK, Dec. 6, 2006 -- Thanks, but no thanks was the subject of an email sent recently to online automotive news publication, Market Drive News. The email was in response to a promotional mailing sent out to automotive retail dealerships across the country offering a free t-shirt to anyone contacting Market Drive News.

Promised to be the industry's most controversial t-shirt, Market Drive News offered a play on words from Viagra. The t-shirt proudly proclaims that by reading Market Drive News, the dealer can get "more ups than Viagra." While the publication was referring to "walk-ups" or individuals who walk onto a dealership lot seeking to purchase a vehicle,
the use of Viagra gives the impression of implying something else entirely.

"As an advertising manager in the automotive industry, I've seen almost everything but I must tell you that this one beats them all. I'm extremely offended by your flier and free t-shirt offer," said Melissa Vuick of Western Pennsylvania-based Tom Clark Auto Family in an email forwarded to Market Drive News. "With so many women working in key positions in the automotive industry today, you never know who is going to receive your offer or correspondence."

Representatives of Market Drive News anticipated that not all individuals would appreciate the approach taken with their promotion. However, the publication editors viewed the move as a strategic way to grasp attention in a heavily saturated market.

"Automotive retail dealers are inundated with advertising, promotions, webzines, magazines, newspapers and so much more that Market Drive News sought out an approach that would effectively grab the attention of our target market," commented Susan Campbell, Executive Editor of Market Drive News. "While it is unfortunate that Ms. Vuick is offended, it is virtually guaranteed that she will not forget the name. Market Drive News and as such, our goal is accomplished."

It is unclear if this controversial approach to promoting Market Drive News will garner further criticism from anyone in the industry, either male or female. Vuick reported that her opinion was shared by every female in her office, yet no reference to the consensus of the male employees at Tom Clark Auto Family was included.

"I would expect this of old school automotive advertising, but I should think that in this day and age you might be a little more considerate of who you may be trying to reach.
Everyone woman in this office, from executive assistant to ad manager to sales manager, echoed my feelings," Vuick stated.

Old school or not, Market Drive News is gaining attention with its promotion. To form an opinion, readers can visit the site, http://www.marketdrivenews.com, and determine if the promotion is offensive and if a visit to the site is valuable to the dealer.

Contact:

Adam Boalt
Rhetoric Advertising
561-584-9130

Market Drive News


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