I’m all for getting the most promotional bang for your buck, but this isn’t how to do it: A friend of mine recently purchased a car and discovered it was making strange noises. She brought it back to the dealer who was willing to repair the problem but it would take a day or two. My friend then asked if they had a loaner car in the meantime which they did and happily handed it over.
So far, this story sounds great: dealer doesn’t hassle about the repairs, offers a loaner car so my friend can drive around and not have her life completely interrupted in the meantime.
Unfortunately this is where the twist takes place.
The car was covered in garish ugly advertisements for the dealership. Not something tasteful – just emblazoned obvious, ugly and embarrassing advertisements. My friend was so appalled and humiliated at having to drive the vehicle that she turned it in early.
Now, the dealership did get some free advertising. Their ads reached several thousand indifferent eyeballs as people passed the loaner car that day. However they also negatively advertised to the one person who gave a damn, a person who purposefully chose this dealership for their reputation of taking care of her and her family.
Do you think she will be buying her next car there? Or that her family will continue to buy cars from there? Guess how many of her friends she’s telling about the horror experience?
Do you think the dealership made money with those car-ads or lost it?
You could argue the ads also keep the car from being stolen, but that’s even worse: then you’re sending a message of mistrust in your customers – even aggression!
I think it would have been better if they hadn’t offered a loaner at all.