Marketing That Doesn’t Work

Number 1 marketing scam that doesn’t work: I just got off the phone with The American Express Food & Wine Publishing Company. In order to speak to these oh-so-helpful folks, I had to call the regular American Express number, enter a whole bunch of numbers, make a whole bunch of choices (none of which were what I wanted), so I had to select zero in order to be connected to a customer service representative.

The representative had obviously been well trained in polite-speak and I could just imagine what she said to the person next to her after she put me on hold. She would have said, “Nasty bitch”. I told her what my problem was. That I had received a card in the mail telling me that (Good News!) I would soon be receiving the annual 2011 Food & Wine WINE GUIDE, which will tell me all about wine pairings with food and stuff. I buy big bottles of wine and as far as I know, it “pairs” well with just about anything.

If I wasn’t “delighted” I could return the book within 90 days and if I was “delighted”, for my convenience, they would be happy to charge my American Express account. I have a problem with this. I could return a card if I didn’t want to get the Wine Book (for which, of course I had to supply a stamp), but I do not want to be bullied into a credit card charge, simply because I am too lazy to return a book or even a card. I want to buy what I want to buy, and I don’t like this. I know the cost isn’t that great (only $12.95 plus 1.99 for shipping), it’s the principle of it that I question.

Maybe I’m getting cranky and all worked up about it but how do they figure they can just inform you that they are mailing you a book, without your having asked for it and bill you for it and make it kind of difficult for you to say No Thanks? I decided I wasn’t going to lay down for it (<– that’s probably a cliché but too bad).

Never mind how frustrating it is to get connected to a breather these days, why does the music they play while you are on hold have to be so God-awful? It hurts the ears, and is always accompanied by distortions that threaten to cause hearing loss. And they apologize profusely about why it is taking so long to transfer me to the Publishing Area. Finally Jason comes on the line, and he is from the Publishing Area, and he is so willing to help me with whatever my problem is. Sure! I can cancel you out of that! So sorry!

Why did I have to go through this? Aren’t there regulations these days about aggressive marketing techniques such as this? It doesn’t work with me. It just makes me mad at American Express for partnering with these people.

Jason likely turned to his neighbor after I got off the line and said, “Nasty bitch”.

Number 2 marketing strategy that doesn’t work: I call this the Jos. A. Bank marketing technique. Jos. A. Bank is an upscale men’s “furnishings” store. They sell cashmere sweaters for hundreds of dollars, expensive suits, nice sports jackets, silk shirts, beautiful ties. Anything the self-assured, confident, upwardly mobile male could want. They cater to a clientele that is affluent so guess what, they are usually pretty smart.

Their ploy is that if you buy one item, they will throw in a bunch of free stuff. Buy one, get one absolutely free! That doesn’t work? Buy one, get two absolutely free! I have heard them go up to as many as five (that’s 5) items free if you buy one overpriced sports coat.

The other day, they were selling jackets for $99. Just $99! But wait! Nothing free? Where’s my free stuff?

The point here is that the audience they cater to was not born yesterday (cliche alert), nor are their IQs falling off the low end of the charts. They are smart, and they can figure out that if Jos. A. Bank can afford to give away so much free stuff, and we know they are still making a profit in there somewhere, else they would not be in business, why don’t they just sell their products for a reasonable price, and stop with all the advertising of “free”? It’s pretty ridiculous, and if anyone ever bought anything in that store for full price with no free stuff, they probably need a brain scan.

Just don’t think you can fool us, Jos, because we aren’t Walmart shoppers here.

Number 3 marketing technique that doesn’t work: I’ve touched on this subject before. Cracker Barrel and the necessity to drag out the holiday cheer five months before we want it! I like the restaurant, the comfort food they serve, and the funny old stuff they hang on the walls, old calendars and pictures and advertisements. It’s a nice atmosphere, and you can be assured that Friday will always be “brown rice day” in any Cracker Barrel from Ohio to Florida.

Brown rice is the vegetable of the day on Fridays. It’s yummy, and combine that with some other vegetables and you’ve got yourself one good lunch. (Although I’m still not sure macaroni and cheese is a vegetable.)

The store part is questionable though. I don’t mind the old fashioned candy, and the candles, cards and even the country western CDs. But the holiday crap needs to go. Take a look at my picture of the talking broom.

Here’s a poor soul forced to wear a witch’s hat. If I were this lady, I would quit that job, citing “intelligence discrimination” as in –  Why do I have to wear this dumb thing on my head and look like an idiot just to keep this lousy job?

Here is the tackiest item I could find, a clock where the numbers are apples. Note how the numbers at the fifteen minute marks are half apples. Isn’t that special?

And here is a lovely platter, complete with tacky saying. You know the kind. “No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best!” Meh. Barf. Wish this photo had turned out a little better, the TS (Tacky Saying) is “With a Heart that is true I’ll be waiting for You in the shade of the old Apple Tree”. Wow. Nice.

Does anyone really buy this stuff? And the fact that they get these awful items into the store at such an early date is deplorable. It’s two months until Halloween! It’s three months until Thanksgiving! It’s four months until Christmas!

Halloween is not a big deal anyway, it’s another marketing day, and an excuse to show Chainsaw Massacre on TV. Ooh! Frightful. No, actually, just a really bad movie.

No one really buys much for Thanksgiving, except food, and flowers. And maybe wine. Hey, you might want to try the American Express Food & Wine WINE GUIDE!

8 thoughts on “Marketing That Doesn’t Work

  1. I loved this post!! Cracked me up! Have actually shopped at Jos. A Banks with my Dad (he bought 2 sport coats, both half price), and I don’t remember a thing in there that wasn’t on some kind of ‘sale’!
    Point: I can’t help but think that sometimes a cliche just fits best, which, I suppose, is how it became a cliche in the first place!

  2. Exactly! Cliches make a point. The first time they were said they were brilliant. It’s very hard to avoid them.

    I can see you liking this post. You always did see things the same way I do! Thanks for the comment, Sue.

  3. Pingback: 4 Blog Updates, 1 Household Hint and A Song « Lynn Schneider Books

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