Used car dealers provide their customers with the unique opportunity to acquire a capable vehicle for a fraction of the price of their new counterparts.
The used car dealers also provide us with some of the worst advertising tactics of all time. Now, we’re not saying that these poor marketing strategies are indicative of a dealership’s ability to sell a car… but we’re saying that these poor marketing strategies are indicative of a dealership’s ability to sell a car.
If you’re looking for a couple minutes of entertainment, check out my favorite used car dealer advertisements and marketing gimmicks…
Free Gun with Purchase
When I think of car-buying, the first thing that crosses my mind is guns. Actually, scratch that… it might be the last thing on my mind.
If you’re someone who’s yet to get your priorities straight, then you probably would have appreciated the 2009 deal offered by Max Motors in Butler, Missouri. The dealership (who, in a non-ironic twist, has a slogan that reads “Guns, God, Guts, and American Pick-Up Trucks”) included a voucher for a “complimentary” semi-automatic weapon with the purchase of any of their vehicles.
The business, which offers both new and used vehicles, actually saw an uptick in sales, as they sold 35 additional cars during the promotion. So why did the owner, Mark Muller, think it’d be a good idea to combine cars and guns?
“There are a bunch of maggots out there and not protecting yourself is highly irresponsible. Everyone is scared at the moment. You cannot buy bullets because stores are selling out and guns are hard to come by, so I thought it was a good promotion. The only people being irresponsible are those not protecting themselves.”
Whatever you say, Mark.
Car for Bananas
If you’re a used car dealer, you probably shouldn’t follow this Briston, Connecticut dealership’s business model from the 1960s.
A dealership decided to get cute with their ads, touting that they were selling a 1962 Pontiac Tempest for 1,395 bananas. A quick estimate from yours truly pegs the vehicle to be worth around $4,000 back then.
Meanwhile, by my calculation, you could buy about 40 bananas for one dollar back in the 1960s. That’d mean it cost a whopping total of $35 to fulfill the dealership’s request for 1,395 bananas.
One lady recognized this, showed up to the dealership with 25 bananas as a down payment, and was promptly turned away. However, the State Consumer Protection Commissioner determined that this was false advertising from the dealership. Instead of being wrapped into a court case, the business decided to give the car to the customer for the desired number of bananas.
Yea…I don’t know, either. A person dressed up as a hamster. People at the beach. Gary Busey. No part of this commercial makes any sense, and I’m not even talking about the fact that it’s attempting to advertise a dealership.
Have we learned anything from these examples? If I came away with one thing, it’s that the heads of marketing for these dealerships deserve to be canned.