Misleading Advertising: A reply to Jordon Being a Business Student’s Post

Stephanie here.

I cam across a one of my fellow classmates earlier blog posts, and I would like to make a comment to it.

Here’s the link! (http://blogs.ubc.ca/jleung/2011/02/10/false-advertising/)  in Jordon mentioned that he visited the UBC McDonalds and realized that this McDonalds was not participating in the free sample biscuit giveaway. Jordon didn’t mention much about his experience, but since I was there also, I’d like to go more in-depth, because I realized that this also was a classic, this was a classic bait & switch marketing.

Free Biscuits! (Actually NOT)

Though I do not agree with this marketing technique of “bait & switch”, here’s why I think it works & why it’s so effective:

1. The “Bait & Switch” is still very effective. Example: A couple of our friends (including Jordon) joined the line-up up to get McDonald’s, but when he realized that there were no free biscuits, he remained in the line-up to get somethings else (Bacon Egg McMuffin, if I remember correctly?). He wasn’t the only one, once people in the line-up realized that the biscuits were a no-go, about 2/3 of the people still remained in the line! That’s pretty effective if you ask me.

Reasoning? I guess it has to do with people’s perception of sunk cost and timing & convenience.
-If people were waiting in the line & they were hungry they would probably still stay in the lineup because they would’ve already spent a good amount of time waiting for that free biscuit. This makes people feel that if they don’t buy something, their time is wasted, so the “bait & switch method” is another way for people to recover the sunk cost of preparing themselves for something free.

2. People will spend more to get something free. We ran into a couple of friends that were planning on risking being late for class by taking the 99 bus to to McDonald’s on Broadway, just so they could get the free biscuits. (Oh, and they also waited in line and still bought breakfast at the UBC McDonalds.)

Oh UBC McDonalds .. you fail ...

All in all, I kind of predicted that UBC McDonalds would not participate in this promotion, much like most of the franchises on campus (Starbucks, A&W, Subway), which I do not agree with … but that will be another post coming .

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