Battlepanda: Discounts for nobody and everybody


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Discounts for nobody and everybody

Both GM and Ford has focused their latest publicity campaigns on the fact that everybody now supposedly recieve the employee discount price on their car. But if everybody gets the same discount, does anybody really get any discount at all? One marvels at the ingenuity of their marketing departments -- in one broad stroke, they eliminate an employee perk while creating a selling point for free.

Via Nick Beaudrot, I see that Ian Ayres at Balkinization and Third Way ad blog has another take on why those ads are effective:
This price promotion is smarter because it fixes one of the largest
problems in the industry - one that is well-understood, has been studied in
controlled tests and one that GM itself was the first to address years ago. The
problem is price discrimination.

When asked, most people will say that if you are a woman or black and walk
into a car dealership, you will have difficulty getting the same price as a
white man. In fact, this was shown quantitatively in a study by Ian Ayres called
Pervasive Prejudice? Unconventional Evidence of Race and Gender Discrimination
(Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2001).

The power of the "Employee Discount for Everyone" is not in the word
'discount' - it's in the last word 'Everyone.' In fact, the spot announcing this
discount is weighted towards non-white male speakers. Of the 7 spokespeople in
the spot (all employees), only two are white men. There are two more men - one
Hispanic and one Black and three women, one white, one Asian and one Black.
While this is not unusual in advertising in general, it serve a very specific
purpose here - to underline the world 'Everyone.
I suppose "Employee Discount for Everyone!" is more likely to win over customers than "For a limited time only, No Penalty for being Black, Hispanic or a Woman!"