Wanted someone to trust

2012-07-04 00:00

ONE of these days some enterprising company is going to really start winning the hearts, minds and wallets of the consumer by advertising the fact that “absolutely no terms or conditions apply”.

When you think about it, the “terms and conditions apply” fine print that appears on just about all advertisements these days is nothing more than a pretty stupid compromise deal struck between advertisers and our befuddled advertising regulators.

On radio, they don’t even spell it out anymore, but just throw in a cursory “Ts&Cs apply” at the end of the commercial.

It’s a bit like spotting the woman of your dreams across a crowded room and after hours of fantasising about living forever with her, she comes across and flings herself into your arms talking about love at first sight and asking you to carry her away. And then you discover that she has been married 10 times, has halitosis to beat the band and thinks Brent Crude is the villain in Isidingo.

Looking for

someone to trust

In this day and age, consumers are desperately looking for someone or something to trust. And using a promise as bait and conditions as a hook might get some consumers to swallow what they’re being offered, but it hardly engenders any form of loyalty.

The whole idea behind it, of course, is that advertisers complained that it was far too expensive to spend time on TV, radio and in print actually spelling out every detail of the conditions behind every offer, so they were allowed just to toss in a warning “terms and conditions” apply.

Because human nature is such that disappointment is the bedfellow of lowered expectations, it is inevitable that when consumers respond to ads with the “terms and conditions” warning, they are not going to get what the essence of the ad was offering in the first place.

So, who needs to keep dealing with someone who constantly disappoints you? Besides the Zimbabwean electorate that is.

Disappointment

suppressed

What makes all this kind of marketing work some of the time in spite of annoying consumers all of the time, is that a sizeable chunk of the South African market so desperately wants to own things that disappointment is suppressed. It relies on advertising that appeals to our impulses and as everyone knows, impulses most often lead to regret.

Which in the short term is fine, but it’s my bet that consumers are getting both weary and wary of the terms and conditions ploy, and are now looking for someone who will sell them something without all those strings attached.

It is common knowledge that it costs 10 times as much to find new customers as it is to keep existing customers coming back for more.

And advertised promises riddled with terms and conditions very rarely bring people back for more. Because when something involves or costs more than you expect, going ahead with the deal inevitably leaves a sour taste in your mouth. So sour that next time you’ll try somewhere else first.

This sort of marketing is not only silly but also very expensive.

Not giving a toss

To me the “terms and conditions apply” option is the same as those companies that use call centres to handle consumer complaints.

It’s a compromise that smacks of not giving a toss about customers.

I would never advise any company to resort to this stupid cop-out. — News24.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.