Today I passed by a car dealership that had big neon signs up advertising a new sale. The sale was like “2017 Inventory Clearing Prices, Only For October!”
If you have ever 1. bought a car and/or 2. Are not a total dunderhead, you have probably guessed by now that “Limited Time Offer” sales are a bunch of crap. If you can get them down to a price of $X on October 30, you can get them down to the same price on November 2. It might not be the Inventory Clearing Prices Sale; it’ll be the Employee Discount Sale, or something else. The price of a car is what it is and the “Sales” are all nonsense. They change the names and details to confuse the hell out of you and make it seem like you’re getting a different deal but it will add up to the same price.
As a result, these signs don’t have any effect on people. They all look the same anyway. I have never in my life heard of someone saying “I’d better buy the car this month because the sale is running out” because no one believe the “sales” mean anything. Heck, I am honestly not sure what dealer it was I saw the signs at, or in fact if it was this morning or yesterday morning. Honestly, they all look the same; when we actually went car shopping last year, I was forever forgetting which dealer was where. When you consider how expensive a car dealership is, and how lucrative a few extra sales would be, the total lack of brand distinction in their buildings and properties is kind of amazing. The Maserati dealership look pretty much the same as the Kia dealership, at least from the outside.
I’ve never sold cars but it seems to me car dealerships really need to step up their game and start doing something that stands out. Which of these signs would you notice? This one:
Pretty clear, right? You’ve seen that first sign a million times. But if you drove by that second sign, you’d think “Wow. Maybe it’s time to look at this year’s Toyotas.” Same color and font, but you would NOTICE that second sign.
“Fall Discounts on Jeep Wranglers” will not attract attention; “These Badass Vehicles Will Make You Cream Your Jeans” will have the male customers, at least, lined up for test drives. You can adjust the profane and/or insulting message to the car; while “JESUS H. CHRIST YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THE GODDAMN SALES GOING ON IN THIS FUCKIN’ PLACE” works well for economy models, such as Hyundais, something more upscale like “YOUR PARENTS WILL BE DISAPPOINTED IN YOU IF YOU DON’T BUY ONE OF THESE RICH ASS CARS” is more suited to the Lexus dealership, and “JUST PERFECT FOR A RICH PRICK LIKE YOU” works well for Mercedes.
You can even target market segments. WE GOT ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEMS IN THE SUVS SO YOUR GODDAMN KIDS’LL SHUT UP FOR TEN MINUTES, HOLY SHIT, AM I RIGHT? appeals to parents, while THIS CAR WILL PROVE YOU’RE A BETTER PERSON THAN EVERYONE ELSE will do very nicely to move electric and hybrid models.
I’m no advertising guru but I’m convinced this would give a car manufacturer a huge advantage over the competition. Of course, it would only take the other companies a few months to put up their own obscene signs, and you’re back to looking like everyone else again, and then you’d have to up the ante with strippers (male AND female, equality matters) or hanging convicted criminals on your lawn or whatever, but you might as well get a few extra sales while you can.