Random Thoughts On Car Advertising That Annoys Me

I’m going to break this up into bite sized posts. These tidbits have been annoying me, how say you all? First, I keep hearing these radio ads inviting me to come into my local “Nissan store”. Store? You mean Nissan dealership, right? Of course, if they just want you to lease, a better term might be “Nissan Rent-to-Own”. I got a flyer for an upcoming “rental” event at my local Nissan “store” that was set to begin about 5 days hence, and the language at the bottom stated that if I was “overwhelmed by new Nissan fever” I could bring the flyer in early and they would honor the special pricing. “Store?” “Overwhelmed by new Nissan fever?” It just occurs to me, people go to college to learn how to write stuff like this, and probably many of them make a 6 figure income, to sit around and brainstorm and think up flowery bs language like this.

“Where are you?” “I’m over here, by the Buick!” “I don’t see a Buick.” Of course you don’t see a Buick. All these cars nowadays are the same teardrop shape cars. You can’t hardly tell a Buick from a Toyota from a Ford from a Chrysler these days. Maybe someone at the Buick store can point out the difference.

How about these GM ads which state you can “drive” a -insert name of GM product here - for “AROUND” $199 a month. Leaving aside for the moment the fact the idea of leasing a car makes me have to reach for my blood pressure medicine, what annoys me here is the word “around”. “Around” $199? Really? So in other words, if I’m a little short this month I can send you, say, $169 and make it up by sending you $229 a few months later when I have a good month? Hey, $169 is “around” $199, right? Of course not. “Around” $199 probably equals $429 a month plus the surcharge for the turn signal fluid, OnStar and XMSerious sold separately, after your $9000 cash down or trade, .59 cent per mile surcharge for every mile driven over 8,000 miles. Of course I’m not the target market for this kind of malarkey, so it probably doesn’t matter how much it annoys me.

“So you say men are superior drivers? Then how did I get this ‘safe driving bonus check’?” This one is so simple I shouldn’t even have to say it. They overcharged you for your insurance, and now they’re rebating you a tiny fraction of the amount they overcharged you in the first place. Its like they charged you the accident surcharge up front, then, if you don’t have an accident, they give you back the surcharge you shouldn’t have had to pay in the first place. But, people fall for this kind of stuff I guess.

Its like some of these grocery store “BogusCards”. If you pay us too much for your groceries, we’ll give you a discount at a gas station that charges too much for gasoline (provided you purchase said gas before your points expire whoops too late they just expired at midnight, sorry.)

Wow, that was fun! I feel a whole lot better. Anybody want to add some pet peeves?

All car advertising grates on me because the fine print usually means what’s being advertised ain’t gonna happen.

Just like one dealer I worked for. He hated the term “salesman” and corrected anyone who used it.
The people selling cars were not “salesmen”; they were “transportation counselors”.

He also claimed to not sell used cars. They were all “pre-tested units”.

A survey done some years ago was an eye opener.

  1. Well over 80% of people who were hesitant about buying a car because they thought their credit was not good enough were actually in good shape financially. This is where the “good, bad, and no credit” BS comes into play. They will weed that 20% out and pounce all over the 80%.

  2. The vast majority of car buyers were only concerned with one thing; how much a month on the payment. Dealers know this so they tailor the BS around that workable number and while the customer is focused on the monthly number they’re being raked over the coals on the other numbers.

And the one insurance that has accident forgiveness is already charging you the crappy driver rate.

I don’t get the Buick ad though; it is an admission that their image is not good.

Hmm, I thought the big money was made off the people with bad / no credit. I’ve been to auctions where the same 3 or 4 guys were bidding $1,500 to $2,000 on every car that rolled though. Then they sell the cars at the “buy here pay here” lots for $1,500 to $2,000 down plus whatever per month. They basically come close to break even on the down payment and the monthly payments are the gravy. And they HOPE the poor sucker, oops I mean valued customer pays for 6 to 12 months and defaults. That way they can repo the car and sell it all over again, and maybe yet again after that, all at 20 - 30% interest.

BTW, I learned what “buy here pay here” meant on this site. I used to think it was like the George Carlin bit about “open here” on the box of cookies. “Of course you’re going to open them here, you’re going to eat them here. What do they expect you to do, move to Hong Kong to open their cookies?”

Regarding “monthly payment” buyers. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve had acquaintances / co-workers buy new cars, ink not even dry on the temporary tags, and they didn’t know how much the car cost, they just know its “$269 a month”. Well, how many months? “Ah, I don’t know, my wife’s got the paperwork at home.” Whew. Knowing there are that many ignorant - short sighted people makes me fear for the country’s future, although it does explain why the national debt is $20+ trillion and the same politicians keep getting re-elected. :smile:

Being a natural cheapskate, I am pretty immune to ads. I do however keep a book on my lap for the 18 to 20 minutes of commercials per hour if I am watching live tv.

I do remember however my favorite carpet store, whose owner never gave away free installation or free padding but his total price was always lower than the"free" guys for the same quality carpet. He said he would love to have free installation but he hadn’t found any installers that would work without pay.

Advertisements work because they appeal to our greed. People want to believe they are getting a special deal because it is a holiday, or pre-inventory, or year end or overstock or any number of other fictitious SALES !!!.

Once you get over that you can shop rationally for your best value.

Oh boy, you get me going on PC terminology from the business schools. Stores are friendlier than dealers. Associates are more important than clerks. Assistant Managers are more important than short order cooks. Then of course there are our partners regardless of whether you have any stock or put money into the business and of course customers are not as important as guests, even though no guest ever pays for their visit like customers do. And ad nauseum. This is suppose to make everybody have a positive experience while their money is being separated from them through slight of hand or something and for heavens sake, people can’t ever be sold anything.

Kinda like when we ran our state patrol through customer service training. If you get a ticket in Minnesota by a State Patrol, you’ll leave feeling good about it. Not like some of those nasty city and county guys that even give you a ticket on your 50th birthday. Oh wait that’s another story.

Well Nissan used to have cute commercials,the ones that irked Me were the Chevy pickup(like a rock) and the Jeep commercials(comparing a 4wd Jeep to a 2wd Chevy LUV and a Grand Cherokee busting through a foot of loose powder snow,not to mention the rebadged Chrysler products winning people over Honda ,because of the quality)get real Madison Ave,some commercials will assure I never buy the product

The best car commercial I’ve ever seen is the one from VW where a terrorist blows himself up. Check it out:


"Where are you?" "I'm over here, by the Buick!" "I don't see a Buick."

If you can’t see that blatantly obvious 6" diameter Buick logo in the middle of the grill you are standing only 6 feet away from, you are BLIND AS A BAT, and shouldn’t be in the market for a car anyways!

What annoys me is, you see a commercial where a family is driving at a very sedate pace in their brand new whatever, the announcer spouting all the safety equipment to protect you and your family. And at the bottom of the screen “Professional driver on a closed course DO NOT attempt this.” So I guess I should never attempt to take the family anywhere.

These advertising gimmicks are used in everything.

We had a furniture store in Milwaukee that every year they would have a “Going out of Business sale” and next year the same ads. Never closed, never went out of business, never changed their name. They are still around but no longer use this tactic. I’m not sure if they got in trouble for it, or just that too many people were making a joke out of it.

I find most advertising to be an insult to our intelligence, but then there are enough dopes out there or it would not be successful.

The ones that just irk me are the ones;
Send us $19.95 plus shipping($7.99) and we will send you a second one free…just pay the shipping. Mind you the product in reality costs $9.95 to make and comes to you in an envelope that cost’s $.99 cents to mail. You just spent $35.93 and their cost was really $11.93, so they got a profit of $24.00 for that free one.

Not that they shouldn’t make a profit…I make a profit, if not… I wouldn’t do the work I do.

But it will never amaze me at how easy it is to blow smoke up somebody’s rear.
My wife is a good one to get taken by these schemes.
She bought two lounge chairs years ago. I think they are called zero gravity chairs. They were a new idea then and she paid well over $100 apiece. A year later a sales flier came with the news paper and they were on sale for $40.


Advertising is the way it is because it works. The target demographic of advertising is not the person who sits back and thinks things through. It’s the 18-35-going-on-12 year old who’s fully invested in the consumerist society we’ve built for ourselves.

Those of us who only buy slightly used cars every 10+ years are not their target audience.

Loved the terrorist commercial.

Not all ad campaigns work. The current GM advertising shows GMs to be as good as their competitors in some aspect or other, in some cases such as the Buick ads showing that they have no outstanding features whatsoever. Personally, I don’t see this approach succeeding. Why should anyone buy a car that’s as good as some other make in some aspect when they can just buy the other make?

We all know the ad campaigns that “hit” big, but I’d bet that most don’t affect sales of the advertised product one iota. Many years ago “See the USA in your Chevrolet” was extremely successful. Although it is true that even the mediocre ones keep the company name current in the minds of the customer base, preventing sales from plummeting.

I don’t get the ‘our cars used to be bad, but check them out now’ approach
"Have you driven a Ford lately?’"
“Not your father’s Oldsmobile”
“Buick? I don’t see a Buick.”

Well described, teaxases. I agree.

I have to laugh at the latest Chevy commercial, where the folks trying them out compare them to all kinds of super-expensive cars. Yeah, right!

I don't get the 'our cars used to be bad, but check them out now' approach

Hell GM took out full page ads some years ago that basically said “We know we sucked for decades, please give us another chance.”


@missleman Thanks for posting that video about the terrorist in the VW. That was hilarious and I’ve never seen that one before.

The commercials about the Trunk Monkey and the Badger series are also hilarious.