I think we’re all aware, business owners and marketers alike, about the dangers of false advertising and misleading statements. Not only do you cop big fines, but your brand suffers too. You lose your customers trust, and that is something that’s difficult at best to get back. But what exactly is a misleading statement?
If you’re in retail and a customer walks out in a pair of jeans and asks you ‘Does my butt look big in
Marketing Mag recently reported that a Holden dealership in Victoria was fined $13,200 by the ACCC for false advertising/misleading representation. That’s almost the cost of a new Holden Barina!
Apparently the Holden dealership in question was offering Free Extended Lifetime Mechanical Warranties for all new and used vehicles bought from the dealership during a three-day-sale. However, this warranty was only valid until the vehicle reached 175,000 km or went through $3000 worth of claims. Hence the ACCC found that the statements made in the advertisements (appearing in the Herald Sun, The Age and the dealer’s website) were “misleading representations about the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy.”
“This matter is a warning to the motor vehicle industry that dealerships need to be truthful in their advertising and avoid exaggeration when promoting vehicles. While dealerships are free to offer extended warranties to customers, their advertising of such warranties must be accurate. Misleading statements must not be used to bait consumers,”said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.Let’s be honest, they’re pretty spot on. A lifetime is hardly 175,000 km; and $3000 worth of claims could be taken out in a single accident. A customer who bought a car partially because of the warranty would feel cheated; by the dealership and even by the manufacturer, Holden. False advertising like this just crushes everyone involved, for certainly the dealership would be turning to their marketing and advertising agency and asking why the hell nobody picked it up.
As marketers, business owners, managers and even as consumers we need to be aware of the impact false claims can have on everyone involved. So in your next advertising campaign make sure you ask the question: Is this going to make my butt look big? That is; is this going to make my company look bad? If you think the answer may be yes, talk to your marketing team.
Because no one wants their butt looking big.