I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: I have very few defenses against clever marketing and advertising. For some reason, I just BELIEVE people...and companies...and advertisements...and try as I may, I just can't resist a compelling ad. It's a sickness. And a boon to the American economy. So...you're welcome.
Anyway. Last Friday I was assaulted with some well-placed advertising, and it almost blew my mind how quickly I went from this is stupid to I need this, immediately. I'm serious. I could almost see my brain processing. Somewhere, some marketing professor could have probably placed check marks in boxes as I went through the 6 progressive stages of Falling For An Ad. So just in case any of YOU happen to be in marketing or advertising, and because I'm a giver, and because I still really want this...I thought I'd lay out the stages for your professional development slash enjoyment.
On Friday, I walked out to my car in the parking lot after work. Stuck in my driver's-side window, right above my door handle, was this innocent-enough-looking business card (with a few things highlighted):
Stage 1: Curiosity
Hm, someone went to all the trouble of coming out here to stick business cards in people's windows? A mobile carwash company, eh? I glance around the parking lot and notice that lo and behold, not everyone was chosen to receive this card.
Stage 2: Insult
So what're you SAYING, stupid Randy with your stupid Express car stuff?? Out of allllll the cars in this lot, mine is the ONLY ONE in need of your services? Did you even SEE that Camry over there? Or what about that Explorer? Obviously, Randy, you need to have your VISION checked out. I start to get in the car, ready to throw the card in the trash (aka the back seat).
Stage 3: Closer Inspection of Ad
I notice that Randy has gone to the trouble of highlighting certain portions of his card. So apparently Randy inspected my car closely and then took the time to highlight the pertinent sections of his services that I obviously really need? Randy, are you totally a stalker? Or are you just in love with my awesome car? Okay, so Randy here thinks I need Headlight Lens Cleaning...what the heck even is that?...$10 and up...ok, so not too expensive...and there is "Mobile Service Available"...so I wouldn't even have to go anywhere, he could come do this headlight thing here in the parking lot while I work? OK, obviously he could...he came over today, didn't he? Hmmm...and here's his number...
Stage 4: Personal Reflection
Oh my gosh, DO I have dirty headlight lenses? I get back out of the car and inspect the headlights. They are absolutely cloudy, but here's the thing: it's what they looked like when I bought the car 2 years ago (and the car was 6 years old at that point). So I just assumed that's what they were supposed to look like. I'm not that big on car appearances and never really put any thought into it...but now that I'm looking, my headlights definitely look sketchy. Oh my gosh!! All this time, I've been driving around with embarrassingly dirty headlights, and no one even told me...until Randy...
Stage 5: Desire
I look at the facts: I have dirty headlights (headlight lenses?). I don't know how to clean them, because obviously whatever I'm doing isn't cutting it. But I do have $10. I don't have time...but Randy has mobile services. Randy thinks I need headlight lens cleaning. I'm inclined to agree. I don't want to be all tacky...
Stage 6: Beg the Husband
I go home. When Matt comes home, I inform him of my new desire. Mattie...the headlights on my car are all dirty! I need to get them cleaned! He looks at the Matrix. "It looks the same as always to me..." he replies. "I know!!! The same old DIRTY as always! Look, here's some company that can come out to my school and clean them while I'm at work! Isn't that great?! Can I call them?" At this point, Matt looks at me like I'm insane and laughs in my face. Request denied.
To his credit...even though obviously my thinking is solid in this particular instance, I go through this sort of "I NEED THIS THING NOW!!!" mental transformation like...a few times a week. So Matt has to put his foot down sometimes, or we would be like...broke hoarders (albeit broke hoarders with CLEAN HEADLIGHT LENSES). So I get it. But it doesn't change the fact that now I'm embarrassed to be seen in my dirty headlight lens car. :(
Anyway. Well played, Randy of Randy's Express. Well played. Effective marketing. Maybe your next victim will have a less-stingy husband. Good luck to ya.