Keeping your company name or product in front of people is the key to strong sales. I once learned a valuable lesson about the positive effect that any type of notoriety can have where advertising and marketing is concerned. I’d like to close out the month of July with a brief account of an experience that taught me a great deal about advertising and why you never want to look a gift horse in the mouth… even when it may not appear to be much of a gift at the outset.
Many years ago I worked for Jeep Corp. and while arriving to visit a local dealer I couldnâ€™t help but notice a brand new Jeep Wagoneer parked across the street in a vacant lot. The reason I couldnâ€™t help but notice it was due to the fact that mounted to its roof was a 4×8 sheet of plywood, painted green with white lettering that read â€œAnother Hollingsworth Jeep Lemon.â€ To accentuate the sentiment, the owner had pasted cut outs of large yellow lemons all over the sign. I had to admit that he was pretty creative and it was all fairly well done.
Entering the dealership I spotted the entire sales crew peering at the â€œlemonâ€ through the front showroom glass. I engaged the general manager in conversation and he related that the customer had burned up his automatic transmission, twice, due to towing a very large saltwater fishing boat after refusing their advice to install an auxiliary transmission cooler.
I asked him what he intended to do about it.Â He quickly exclaimed, â€œWhat am I going to do about it? Iâ€™ll tell you what Iâ€™m going to do about it – Iâ€™m going to call the newspaper and see if we can get this in the afternoon edition!â€
With a puzzled look on my face I inquired as to why he would want to further expose his dealership to such bad publicity. Then he said something that Iâ€™ve never forgotten… â€œThere is no such thing as bad publicity. Any talk is good talk, just as long as theyâ€™re talking.â€ And then he added this, â€œWeâ€™re going to move a lot of cars this week. Weâ€™re going to set a new sales record. Wait and see.â€
And you know what? They did.
“Any talk is good talk, just as long as they’re talking.”
The owner of the â€œlemonâ€ eventually saw the positive effect his display was having and decided to remove his vehicle. The general manager of the dealership sent him a thank you note for the tremendous sales boost and, I was told, kept the man on his Christmas card list for many years afterwards.