How do they get away with it?

December 4, 2009

Here’s an example of treating your customers like fools and thinking they won’t notice. Foot Locker are purveyors of sports attire in the UK. They sell clothes and trainers, but they’re probably best known for having lots of limited edition versions of fashionable sneakers.
Which leads me to the advert shown below. I’ve shown it in two forms, just to see how cheated you feel when you see the second version.

Seems like a great prize...

...until you read the small print

‘Win sneakers for life’ the headline screams.
“Great” you think.
But then you see the small print and see that they’re offering 65 pairs of trainers, over a period of five years. Which seems a bit of a con to me. Why not wrap the competition up under a different thought, or strategy? Something that doesn’t leave the audience feeling cheated when they discover what the real deal is.
Anyway, like I said, I’ve no idea how they get away with it. I can only assume that people are too busy/apathetic to bother contacting the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). But why don’t their competitors contact them and make a complaint about an ad that clearly misleads?
The idea that “life” can be five years reminds me of a joke by a great stand-up comedian called Stewart Francis. As he says: “I’m set for life financially…as long as I die next Tuesday.” He’s fantastic at delivering one-liners in a way that has almost disappeared with the dominance of alternative comedy. See more of his great one-liners here: on health
and on family.
Genius. Unlike the thinking behind the ad above. Your customers aren’t stupid (well, not all of them) so don’t treat them as if they are. Or you might find that your shops have a life span that’s similar to the five-year one you’re promoting in your competition.

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