Lies that hurt our profession

Here are two of the most lying, cheating, fabricating, duplicitous and overall irritating radio spots that lately we’ve heard over and over around these parts. 

The scripts have been paraphrased. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and stave off lawsuits.

Liar’s Equity Mortgage

“Here at Liar’s Equity Mortgage, we’re the ONLY company with the ability to take advantage of these new rate cuts from the Fed. Call now for interest rates as low as 5.6%! We’re so sure we can save you money we’ll even pay to have your home appraised! At Liars, we’re DEDICATED to helping our neighbors save money…”

News item the next day:

“Liar’s Equity Mortgage, a mortgage broker headquartered in California [note: that’s funny, most of my Spokane neighbors live in… Spokane], deceived and cheated borrowers, according to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.

“Liar’s Equity advertised that their ‘mortgage bank’ offers consumers low rates, free appraisals and guarantees the lowest interest rates and fees,” Jane Doe, Director of DFI’s Division of Consumer Services, said in a news release. “In fact, Liar’s is not a bank, the fees they charge more than cover the cost of the supposedly ‘free’ appraisal, and their guarantee of the lowest rates and fees cannot be substantiated.”

Ms. Doe is being charitable where no charity is warranted.

Double Dealing Subaru

Driving through downtown Spokane, listening to the news on morning drive time. Here’s a word from our sponsor: “Here at Double Dealing Subaru, we’ve sold so many Outbacks this year, we’re getting truckload after truckload of new vehicles every day!”

Wow. In a city where homes go unsold for half a year or longer, or sell at a third off the original asking price, folks are rushing to buy new Subarus by the truckload? In an industry that’s reporting billion dollar losses, one dealership sells cars by the truckload? 

Naturally, the end of the commercial is about 10 seconds of indecipherable, super-high-speed disclaimer. You have to wonder if it says “We really don’t sell that many vehicles, and we really don’t get truckload after truckload of new vehicles every day.”

There are so many honest things they could say. Such as: Subaru makes a great car. And because they haven’t sold many lately, they’ll give you a good deal.  

When a business tells obvious lies so publicly, how can you trust them during the privacy of an actual purchase negotiation?

* * * 

Ads like these (just to remind you, I’ve paraphrased real ads) are not killing the credibility of the marketing industry. That’s been shot for years. They’re killing the credibility of the news shows they sponsor, and the radio industry as a whole. Is the radio station responsible for vetting some of these ads? Are there no standards?

These same radio stations provide editorial commentary throughout the day. Perhaps there has been commentary or disclaimers about their sponsors’ deceptive messages, but I haven’t heard it. You have to wonder what percentage of the stations’ income comes from these dishonest advertisers.

The environment in which our industry operates ranges from shades of truth to outright, outrageous lies. No wonder the general public pays less attention to advertising every day. Other than my professional interest, I do the same thing.

– Barrett Rossie

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