Dodgy Marketing, it always bites you in the butt

January 26th, 2010

You know the kind – an absolutely awesome deal – $50 off*.

*Conditions Apply.

You then read those conditions and the original deal doesn’t seem so great any more.

A Sideswipe reader shares the same story:

Dodgy marketing. The YMCA Auckland have a billboard promoting ‘eight weeks for $80 gym membership’, says a reader. “But in the terms and conditions you are required to sign up for a year ($21 a week) and then you’ll receive the extra eight weeks for $80.”

Please stop.  You’re wasting your time and money only to get a kickback when people find out your trick.  Honestly – no one is going to follow you up and go wow that’s a generous offer.

Offers/Specials/Discounts should be exactly what they say, shenanigans like this only betray all the other great work the brand does. Stop it. Now.

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4 Responses to “Dodgy Marketing, it always bites you in the butt”

  1. Duncan Says:

    Couldn’t agree more Ben. Down with the asterisk!

    If your offer needs one, your offer needs work.

  2. Robert L Says:

    Have seen so many people including myself see an offer then on further investigation find out you get ripped off or have to pay for extra’s. The absolute worst at this in the airline industry is Ryan Air.
    Air New Zealand compare quite favourably compared to them but hidden charges on special offers can bite consumers really hard.

  3. Ben Young Says:

    Thanks guys for your comments – as Duncan said “if your offer needs one, your offer needs work”. The second you put the asterisk on there you lose strength in your message.

    As a bit of an update YMCA apparently responded:
    “Jo Clark from YMCA says its current promotion is a ‘first eight weeks for $80 gym membership’ deal (on a 12-month membership) and apologises for the oversight on a billboard at their City Club which mistakenly left out the “first”.”

    Good on them for coming forward and setting the record straight.

  4. Jo Clark Says:

    Hi Ben

    Thanks for your last comment – we did apologise in the Herald last week for the error on our A-Frame outside the Auckland City branch – the offer is 1st 8 weeks for $80 when you join on a 12 month membership, and is very clear on all or our other advertising (currently on ZM & Classic Hits). The other statement is actually incorrect – you do receive your 1st 8 weeks for $80 and then sign up for another 10 months on the rate you choose according to which membership option it is.

    In no way did we mean to mislead anyone – the offer is fantastic value as its stands without having to hide anything – only $10 a week for your first 2 months and no joining fee! Most gym users would agree I am sure!

    Please also note that as a not-for-profit organisation the revenue from fitness memberships supports our community programmes such as youth development – we are not out to make a fast buck for our own pockets.

    Hope that clears things up!
    Jo Clark
    General Manager Fitness & Training
    YMCA Auckland

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