A Cautionary Tale

Can advertising work too well?

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about an auto collision shop I worked with in the late 90’s. The amazing Todd Tolces created a very entertaining series of commercials in which humor was wrapped around a good sales message (I contributed by playing the commercials for the client and cashing the commission checks).

It took a couple of months, but the campaign began to bring in customers. And then more customers. After a while people were driving their dented cars long distances to have them fixed by this particular shop.

The business grew, and the owner desperately needed more technicians. But with unemployment at record lows, good technicians were impossible to find. So they he hired a couple who weren’t so good, and the quality of their work dropped off. Although we continued to run their commercials, I stopped referring people there after they botched the job on my boss’s car.

Word of mouth turned bad, and the shop lost several big fleet accounts. After a while there were layoffs, and they couldn’t afford to advertise anymore. The business very nearly closed down.

All because the advertising worked, and they weren’t ready.

Are you?


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