Tag Archives: advertising

Save Money Ads – AND Helping You Spend the Savings

I’m always somewhere between amused and confused with ads that seem to teach people how to spend money. Does anyone really need help with that? Spend the savings seems to be the new trend in a lot of ads:

An air conditioning company ad promotes a 17 month no payment plan. That’s kind of cool, but the second half of the ad tells the guy he can now buy his bouncy castle with that saving. What saving? It’s deferred payments for 17 months – the air conditioning system he’s buying isn’t free all of a sudden! Pay for the bouncy castle now, then pay for the air conditioning system after. That’s MORE spending, not less. It’s over-spending, and not saving.

A national television campaign for car manufacturer asks what would you do if you didn’t have car payments this summer. Would you spend it on a vacation? What? They’re delaying your seven or eight years of payments to not start until fall AND want you to spend the money you’re really not saving on a vacation. And newsflash: The ad states no payments. It does not state no interest, so the interest is still accumulating while you’re not making payments.

Scotiabank has been running the same type of ad campaign for a few years, too. The theme is generally that a couple goes into the branch to see how to save $1,500 a year. Then, the second half of the ad, has them spending it immediately. The ads are cute, but come on. You need a commission-based loans officer to show you how to save $125 a month? If so, you’ve got way bigger problems. I bet I can show you how to save $1,000 a month if you have vehicle payments. But, that aside, the savings, according to their ads, should then be spent immediately? How exactly does that help anyone?

Advertisements: What You Hear & What You Need to Know

I actually enjoy good ads. Not only do they keep all media outlets in business, they support a ton of local businesses, and can also inform, and be memorable. Who doesn’t enjoy the U.S. Superbowl ads? Even the Canadian ones are well done.

But not all ads are created equal and some of them really need you to think and ask questions before buying. Do you only see the large print and never the ‘up to’? Up to triple the reward points…1% introductory rate? No payment for six months?

The largest credit card marketing is for reward cards because they have an annual fee. When you see any ad with triple reward points, that’s not the time to apply, but to get a magnifying glass and check the fine print first. Your triple rewards will be on one or two categories such as restaurants or drug stores. It’ll likely be for places with the biggest markups where they have the “room” to give you the triple points, or restaurants where you’ll earn maybe an extra 5 or 10 points, because you’re probably going out to dinner two or three times a month, tops. On the rest of your charges, the 90% or more, the points aren’t tripled. Hear me really clearly: Nobody ever became financially successful because of their reward points. People become financially successful paying cash or debit!

One of my favourite shows is the Amazing Race. This year, Scotiabank is the main sponsor with their American Express card and they have two very cute ads in the show. This is not a real charge card that you ought to have (and the only one I use) where you have to pay the balance in full. It’s a regular Amex card that allows you to make minimum payments versus having to pay it off each month.

Scotiabank’s main slogan is that you’re richer than you think. In fact, it’s the opposite: You’re poorer than you think. 50% of us can’t live without one paycheque, 70% can’t write a cheque for a $3,000 emergency, the percentage of seniors taking debt into retirement is exploding, and a CBC report last night showed 48% of us will rely on CPP for our entire retirement income. But remember that the main business of banks is to lend money. That’s how they make a profit. If the slogan were that you’re poorer than you think, you may borrow and spend less and save more. That’s how banks would lose money. However, if you have a ton of borrowed money, you’re richer than you think…for a while…until you have to pay it back from the same income you had BEFORE the line of credit, car loan, or new credit card.

It’s the old saying of buyer beware. Enjoy the ads, get the information, and then start asking yourself the right questions before signing. It’s a jungle out there – be careful.

As Consumers: We’ve Got the Power

I often get e-mails and feedback from people frustrated with bad service, high rates, or rip-off fees.

But you have to believe that you and me as customers really do have the ultimate power. We often feel there’s nothing we can do about fees, charges, interest rates, or really bad customer service. But that’s not true at all. You have total power to fire any company you choose, and that’s the best and ultimate power of all.

One of the most powerful stories, which is now being heard around the world, is of a Halifax musician. I can relate to this story and my personal horror stories with this company. It’s from a musician by the name of Dave Carroll.

Dave flew on a United Airlines flight out of Halifax. When he got his guitar from checked baggage, it was damaged. He filed a report, and did what he was told to do. But United told him: too bad – they were not covering the damage to his guitar.

Well, Dave wasn’t done – AND he’s a musician. He proceeded to actually write a song called: United breaks guitars. But get this: He posted his song on You Tube (here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&feature=fvst ). So far, this video has been viewed more than FIVE MILLION TIMES.

At about two million views, United had a change of heart and contacted Dave to pay for a new guitar. Too late, Dave told them – it’s been two years, but did tell them they could donate the money to charity.

Another Canadian story is a web site on twitter where Canadians can vent their frustration at banks and their service, fees, or the likes, or just give others a heads-up on some bad practices. It’s been set up by ING Direct, the 7th largest company in the world, and a great alternative to the no-service banks, in addition to credit unions.

Sadly, ING takes out the specific bank, because they do not want to appear to be one bank knocking another. But all the information is there, ranging from a petition to venting and a number of polls. You can access it at: www.fairfees.ca

The Financial Times of London did an extensive survey asking who we actually trust. And for 92% of us it’s word of mouth from friends, associates, or colleagues. That compares to around 60% for traditional advertising.

The lesson is that a companies’ image is not what they it is, but what real people experience in the real world and spread through word of mouth.