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Dumb Ad of the Year

08/19/2013

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 5.55.11 AMStanding out in today’s omni-channel world is difficult. Especially if you’re a small business with just a few locations spread out over three geographically distinct states. Your competitors include furniture stores, department stores, specialty stores, mass merchants and even Costco.

So you advertise.

Unfortunately this ad by Urban Mattress is an early entry into the ‘Dumb Ad of the Year’ nominations for 2013.

This print ad for Urban Mattress takes a purely half-full approach to profits and charitable giving.

Profit Equals Survival – First, and most importantly, we need companies to be profitable. Any business that takes profits lightly or views them as inherently evil will fail. Profitable companies thrive, sell more and better product, hire more people and, yes, pay taxes.

Profitable Company’s Are Charitable – Profitable company’s have money to share with charity – plain and simple. Each of the ‘Top 10 Companies That Gave Away The Most Cash in 2012′ gave over $100 million in cash to charitable organizations. Most gave additional sweat equity by employees as well as other goods and services.

Profits Are Not Evil – It may be disturbing to some, not us, that ‘evil’ and profitable companies like Walmart and Wall Street ogres Goldman Sachs gave twice the percentage of pretax profits that Urban Mattress puffs its chest out about. Specifically Walmart gave 4.5% or $311,607,280 (cash) $755,868,381 (products) while Goldman Sachs gave 3.9% or $241,278,912  (cash).

While we applaud Urban Mattresses decision to give 2% of its profits (the ad does not specify pre or post-tax profits), it’s headline is less than forthright. Any company offer ‘free financing’ is looking to make money. Free financing comes with hidden risks to consumers. Play by the rules, and you get a no-interest loan. However, if you go too late on a payment, misinterpret the payoff date or lose your ability to pay, you could end up with a hefty interest rate plus retroactive interest added to the bill.

Chest pounding about its future plans to be charitable is shallow.

And so, this one goes into the hopper for Dumb Ad of the Year 2013.

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