1. Aug 17, 2009

### TheStatutoryApe

What are the worst advertising gimicks you have seen?

The other day I was on Hulu and they asked if I'd like to take a survey from one of their sponsors and so watch my show free of commercials. The survey was for some sort of skin cream. It turned out though to not be any kind of survey. When ever I answered their questions they asked me if I was sure about my response citing reasons why I was most likely wrong and then saying "Hint: Answer the other way." I couldn't believe they were serious. At the end of the "survey" it said it was analyzing my responses and came back with the diagnosis that I obviously needed their product. I've got to think that most people were probably insulted by their silly gimick.

2. Aug 17, 2009

### turbo

Well, there is a "free" music site that shuts off the feed every few minutes and asks if you have been eaten by a bear. When you respond, they immediately flash another ad at you before resuming the music feed.

3. Aug 17, 2009

### matthyaouw

Sensodyne toothpaste have a terrible advert. It's a series of 'testemonials' by people talking about the product, cut and pasted together in the most terrible manner:

So let me get this straight Sensodyne. You could not for love nor money get a person to say "My dentist recommended Sensodyne" or "Sensodyne helped my teeth"? Why would you want to bring this fact to my attention?

4. Aug 17, 2009

### TheStatutoryApe

I don't imagine they advertise for Troy's Bearsuit do they?

5. Aug 17, 2009

### BobG

One of the local fitness centers had a radio advertisement where the character in the ad was compaining to his buddy, to the accompaniment of background gunshots, that the people coming out of the gym were too hard to shoot - thanks to their weight loss and improved fitness and agility.

The only thing that could have made it worse ...... actually happened. The Beltway Snipers started shooting people at random in the DC area.

It actually took almost a week for the ads to be pulled.

6. Aug 17, 2009

### turbo

This afternoon they have been advertising Converse basketball shoes. The shoes are on the feet of a photoshopped boxer or similar with an alligator head spliced on.

Interestingly, I have been able to listen for about an hour continuously. Maybe they only play the "bear" trick during times of high traffic.

7. Aug 17, 2009

### mgb_phys

Two famous ill-thought out ones.
Sun (the computer company) sent out alarm clocks as part of a "time to wake up to sun" ad. Unfortunately it packaged them by wiring them to some polystyrene. Most of Sun's customers were government/Wall St banks who x-ray all packages - which showed clocks wired to blocks of plastic!

Then Virgin (cell phones) beat them, they sent out 'love heart' candies (=we love our customers) unfortunately they sent them in the mail. They got naturally got crushed and so lots of US companies opened envelopes containing a white powder - in the middle of the anthrax scare.

8. Aug 17, 2009

### turbo

Junk-mail in envelopes that are "dressed up" to make them look like something official or that purportedly come from some "official disbursement center" or have a come-on offer printed on what looks like check-type security paper through the address window. The last is a favorite of car dealerships in this area.

BTW, LAST radio just cut me off with the "Have you been eaten by a Bear?" gimmick.

Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
9. Aug 17, 2009

### Jimmy Snyder

They: You don't need to pass a physical for this life insurance, and you can't be turned down regardless of your age.

Me: Won't that make it more expensive than if I did need a physical, or meet an age condition?

10. Aug 17, 2009

### mgb_phys

The opposite is worse, I was prepaying an estimated monthly amount on the electric bill - so at the end of the year they owed me money.
Although they manage to take money out of your account every month automatically the refund is a check (extremely rare in europe) and came in a cheap plain brown envelope with no company logo and no name - I'm guessing they rely on a number of people throwing it away unopened as junk mail.

11. Aug 17, 2009

### turbo

Man! That is a nasty trick! It probably saves them a lot of money when people toss what they think is junk mail.

12. Aug 17, 2009

### junglebeast

Some the rebate schemes are borderline on fraud these days.

I purchased an item off Newegg that had a rebate, bought the product and the next day filled out the rebate form and sent it in. 2 weeks later I was notified that my rebate claim was denied because it was not being offered during the time that I purchased the product. After some investigation, I discovered that they change the rebate code number every few hours, and make the rebate only valid during that few hour period...so that people like me will choose a rebate ID that does not correspond to the exact time that they purchased the product, and get no rebate.

13. Aug 18, 2009

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
That one made me laugh, I think because it wasn't something done in poor taste or poor planning, just one of those odd things that seems like a good idea, and that normal people just wouldn't anticipate would result in such a scare to the recipient.

On that newegg rebate thing, I think changing the code every hour in a way that you wouldn't notice (or because they let you print it out anyway) IS a scam, not just borders on being one. I'd report them to the postal inspector (if it's mail order items, and the rebate form was sent through regular mail, it becomes their territory...they always sound more effective than other law enforcement agencies at shutting down fraudulent practices like that).

On principle, I won't buy anything where the discounted price requires a rebate. If they can sell it at a discount, they can just put it on sale. I'm not paying full price and then waiting for them to send me back a check while they've got my name and address for their junk mail list, plus the original receipt so I can't return the item if it breaks.

14. Aug 18, 2009

### Borg

This is terrible. Let me guess, they didn't return your receipt either?

I've seen this same tactic with rebates. They count on people not to send in the paperwork. Then, if you do send it in, the check comes back looking like junk mail.

Back on the main topic: Did anyone see GM's CARS for cash commercial a few weeks ago where they talked about trading in your old clunker for a higher mileage vehicle but, the screen showed a bunch of new gas guzzling SUVs?

Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
15. Aug 18, 2009

### mgb_phys

There is an entire thread about it - turns out you can trade in your 18mpg SUV for a 19mpg SUV and get a rebate.

16. Aug 18, 2009

### Staff: Mentor

I stopped getting suckered into the "price after rebate" thing. I finally admitted that I will never bother with the rebate, so I only buy it after I add the rebate amount back and decide it's an acceptable price. For example if they advertise it for $600 after a$100 mail in rebate, the price is \$700.

The store isn't the one offering the rebate in most cases, it's the manufacturer, the store just uses the fact that if you are willing to go through hell trying to get money back from the manufacturer, you could eventually get to that price point.

I just bought a new computer, and I bought it directly from the manufacturer and got the "net after rebate" price as my upfront price. That is the way to go, no rebate to deal with, and your money isn't tied up for 6-12 weeks.

17. Aug 18, 2009

### junglebeast

Nope, they didn't return my receipt...and whats more, they explain their process for contesting rebate rejection, and specifically note that rebates rejected for this reason cannot be contested! I could have complained with Newegg, but I just don't have the time to fight these small battles...

18. Aug 18, 2009

### Loren Booda

It's a tie between the TV spots for Smuckers, where the kid mopes about his surname, and for Bushes Baked Beans, where the dog Duke dresses up like the ghost of "Grandpa Bush." Consider yourself lucky if you haven't seen them.

Not to mention the hypochondriac commercials during the news hour selling symptoms you never knew you had.

19. Aug 18, 2009

### GeorginaS

That may be their rationale, however, here, in Canada, cheques, credit cards, store point cards, etc., all get mailed in unmarked plain brown envelopes. The point of that is to make it not resemble mail that people like to steal. Such as envelopes containing cheques, credit cards, etc.

I always mail in for rebates. I've always received the rebate in the mail.

Bad advertising gimmicks. For some reason the people set up at booths in grocery stores trying to get you to taste some weird food that they've fried up in an electric fry pan creep me out. Not only do I give them wide berth so I don't have to decline eating the thing (and they generally use sweet little older ladies to peddle the stuff -- likely so you'll trust them) I also eye the packaging so I can be sure to avoid it. Plus, I feel guilty if they offer, and I don't want to try the mystery meat with goo on top. They appear dejected, as if they slaved over the food all day, themselves, personally. They bother me to no end.

20. Aug 18, 2009

### rootX

Will you be recommending their product to your friends?

I don't know how they hire to do those things.