The automotive industry has some of the sneakiest and most confusing advertising practices out there. Here is my recreation of an actual ad in a newspaper:
LEASE FROM $258 MONTHLY WITH $0 DOWN. THAT’S LIKE PAYING ONLY
Notice something in the red box? The little ~ thing. It’s called a tilde. The tilde means there’s something about this $59 number that needs further explanation. Let’s take a trip down to the fine print, shall we?
~Payments cannot be made on a weekly basis, for advertising purposes only.
Sorry, what? Then why would they list a weekly price? How many people care about the cost per week if they can’t pay per week? When did this become acceptable advertising practice?
How bout daily then:
~Payments cannot be made on a daily basis, for advertising purposes only.
Or hourly – why not?:
~Payments cannot be made on a hourly basis, for advertising purposes only.
$0.35 an hour sounds awesome. Who doesn’t make enough to buy a car at that price?
WHAT A STEAL!
Let’s do this for everything!
I could really go for a $0.05 nugget bite right now.
Not very far off from the auto ad if you think about it. It’s advertising something you can’t actually do. That’s called false advertising. Another word for it is lying. But we just accept it?
Did you know they don’t even show the correct vehicle models in the photos next to the price? The $59 per week deal is for the “Rogue S FWD” model. The picture beside the ad is the “Rogue SL AWD Premium” model. (I know this because it says it clearly in the fine print.) The difference between those two models is an extra $12,000. Why wouldn’t they just show the S model? Does it look bad or something? If they don’t want to show their bad looking S model, maybe they shouldn’t advertise it at all.
Let’s say a television retailer tried the same thing. Here’s what it would look like:
I think we can all agree that this is wrong. You have to show the product that you are selling next to the price. That’s just basic common sense. If I say something is $199, then you show me a picture of another thing that costs $12,000 more, I’m just going to think you’re crazy and not buy things from you. But the automotive industry thinks they are exempt from common sense.
The point of all of this is that we should all pay attention to the fine print when reading anything. Apparently it’s ok to put just about anything in an ad, if you have a disclaimer down at the bottom.
So let’s fight back and challenge the industry. The next time you go to buy or lease a car, bring in their ridiculous ad and ask them why they think it’s ok to play us all for fools. I look forward to their response.