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I’m thoroughly enjoying my first independent car shopping experience. I can swap smarmy smirks and drag conversations into uncomfortable silence with the best of them. Up and leaving negotiations after an insulting “Today’s Special!” offer gives me The Tingling. My “buddy” John once sprinted from his desk to reel me back in! I love being wooed and sold to in the Age of the Internet, a resource that has transformed the landscape from buyer to seller beware. What I don’t love, is the use of outlandish deals to entice interest in a dealership, and frankly, I can’t imagine salesfolk do either.

During my research, this jarring number slapped me upside the head. If Tumblr is to be believed, there’s an idiom by Marilyn Monroe about things being too good to be true that applies here. After a second offer from a sales rep we’ll call PJ (because that’s his name) came in much higher than this low, low, offensively low lease offer, I had to ask about these extravagant integers. “Did you read the fine print?” he inquired.

I, as is my right as an American, conveniently chose to ignore said fine print. The cocktail of bonuses and prerequisites required to reach that low, low, hellishly low price resembled an Arbor wine list. As PJ dutifully explained, his head grew weary, sensing that both of us knew this ad was predatory. College grad +/- 6 months. Active military. Previous Chrysler/Dodge owner (to really stick it to ‘em). In-family Ford lessee. Bank fees. All told, the money down to reach that magic $89/mo. exceeded $6,500. “I hate these,” said PJ dismissively, “I try to run an honest racket and then have to explain the monthly lease amount is almost unattainable. Makes us both look foolish.” And he’s absolutely right. Surely the shock value of the low, low, unrealistically low price can’t compensate for the resentment of feeling duped, can it? Who, really, are these ads serving? Not the brand. Not the dealer. Not the consumer. So who?

~ Chase Cambria, Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency


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