Blog: Dave LeggettBonkers marketing offers

Dave Leggett | 24 March 2006

Some of the promotional offers around amaze me. The marketing copy might be heavily pitched to press certain buttons and then the whole effect is ruined when some bright spark has said something like ‘let’s throw in a holdall or a radio/alarm clock’ as if that’s the crucial deal clincher. Hell, maybe it works, but to me buying life insurance or mortgage protection ought to be a decision taken on more heavyweight criteria than ‘it comes with a free leather-look overnight bag – wow, where do I sign?’

I have received something in a similar vein today. An insurance company is offering a deal for UK drivers who lose their licence due to disqualification. There are a lot of speed cameras here, so accumulating points is a constant worry for those who are a little heavy on the accelerator pedal. ‘LicenceGuard’ offers you reimbursement on alternative travel costs – taxi fares, trains, even a chauffeur, it says - in the event of disqualification. An annual fee of £65 buys you £6,000 reimbursement cover and £125 can get you a whopping £15,600. Sounds like a pretty reasonable deal at first sight, especially as you can join up with six points on your licence already (accumulating twelve gets you a ban - three is a standard penalty for, say, doing 40mph in a 30mph zone).

But then they go and spoil it all on the promo flier by stamping on the front in a big yellow box ‘join within the next seven days and we’ll send you a free M&S voucher’. For those of you not in Britain, M&S stands for Marks & Spencer, a high street department store over here that has been around since Britain was invented and has a rather dowdy image.

It’s the kind of place blokes go to for socks. And the sandwiches are okay. If you opt for the top-level £125 LicenceGuard service you’ll get a mighty £10 M&S voucher. That ought to be good for a few pairs of socks. And if you go for the £65 a year option, you’ll get a voucher for all of £3, which might just stretch to a chicken mayo sandwich.

Not exactly a deal clincher to someone - statistically likely to be a youngish male - who drives like a bat out of hell and lives life in the fast lane, surely. How much thinking went into that little gem of an offer in the marketing department?

Actually, I’ve noticed in the small print that the insurance company behind LicenceGuard is based on the Isle of Man and not regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority. It says, “…and [therefore] you will not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the insurer is unable to meet its liabilities to you.” Hmm.


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