Thursday, September 11, 2014

Auto Club Utilizes Used Car Sales Tactics

You never want bad marketing to ruin a good product.  

The American Auto Club (or AAA) has a pretty solid reputation.  After all, they lend a hand to motorists who find themselves needing one; goodwill is built right into their business.

But I wonder if their marketing isn't tarnishing the goodwill earned along highway.  I received the direct mail piece in the photo a few days ago and it's deceptive tactics looks like the handiwork of a sleezy used car salesmen.

The postcard is designed to get the recipient to upgrade their membership.  Including the front and back sides, the word "free" is used ten times and the words "no money" are also included once.  However, the offer to opt-in to AAA plus discreetly states that at renewal, there will be an additional fee of "$37 for me and $23 for each Associate member in my household."  On the back side, it mentions that you must opt-out to return to their classic membership.  These important details are hidden among the various big, bold "frees" plastered across on the card.

AAA is obviously trying to hide what the recipient is actually signing up for if they return the postcard by making it appear to be a no lose proposition.  Naturally, deceiving customers this isn't good practice for any business; however, I find it remarkable that a client-based organization would use sleeze-ball marketing practices. 

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

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