Friday, January 10, 2014

"Tell ya what I'm gonna' do!"

"You say you're not satisfied! You say you want more for your money! Tell you what I'm gonna' do!" When pitchmen first shouted that line on TV, a Madison Avenue advertising executive said, "Television will change the advertising business forever." He was right!

Are you ready for more radical change? A New York shopping "expert" on national TV recently suggested shopping at Macy's or Bloomingdale's where someone will courteously demonstrate a product. Then she advised, "Go on-line and find that product at the best price."

J. C. Penney was in the news last year for flubbing their marketing program. They quit offering sales and discounts and tried honest, "everyday low prices." The CEO, Ron Johnson, lost his job, their stock plummeted and they even ran "apology" commercials to shareholders.

FTC rules and standards are long gone. The advertising guy was right 60 years ago about TV. But I doubt he could have foreseen dealing with people where everything has to be virtually free or absurdly discounted. The internet has turned the merchandising world upside down.

Examples: Suits, "Buy one, get three free." Carpet, "70% off." Is the consumer really stupid enough to fall for the old "Mark 'em up so you can mark 'em down" game? The majority of retailers must think so. The sad tale of J. C. Penney more or less confirms it.