It would be a strange and unsuccessful shop that filled its window with brightly coloured goods it didn’t sell. That tempted passers-by with promises it couldn’t keep.

But that’s what some marketing communications do. The up-front messages attract and intrigue, but when these siren calls succeed and a prospect engages with the brand or product, the reality is often a let-down. This video explains more.

Car lease companies do it all the time. £99 a month they shout. Then you find that this is for a tiny annual mileage and you have to pay a huge deposit up front.

Holiday rental websites play the same game. £49 a night! But then there’s the platform fee and the cleaning charge and you have to pay for extra linen if your chum is going to join you.

“That’s just selling” you might say – “we’re used to it”. But it’s no way to build a relationship, and isn’t that what your brand wants with its consumers?

A long-term relationship rather than a disappointing one-night stand.

Next time you’re tempted to bend the truth in your headline, or to create a barely credible product just to claim an attractive price, think of the second date. Of the long-term connection you want to build. Of the fact that people know £99.95 is really £100 and if you come clean, they’re more likely to come back.



Brian Sharp

Brian Sharp

Brian Sharp is both a marketeer and a business manager. He combines global big brand experience and communications creativity with commercial insight – a blend that builds sales and profits via memorable communications.