Keep holiday ads plain, clear

To draw in customers, make holiday ads crystal clear.

Automakers, hoping for a strong finish to what is shaping up to be a record year for the industry, are competing for every sale with holiday incentives. And, to be competitive in the holiday car-shopping game, ads should be plain and clear.

Customers should be able understand what the offer is just from reading the bold print, such as “0 percent financing for 72 months.”

Ford learned that last month when it canceled its “Friends & Neighbors” incentives program and replaced it with 0 percent financing and $1,000 cash back on some vehicles.

Ads for Friends & Neighbors didn’t state in bold that pricing was no-haggle. If they had, the deal may have captivated more customers.

One dealer told Automotive News last week that the holiday season was the wrong time to offer Friends & Neighbors. It would have been more successful during summer months when there isn’t the same competition from other manufacturers.

Ford was wise to change its incentive for the last month of the year.

When consumers are hunting for year-end holiday deals, manufacturers will fare best with simple ads.

You can reach Hannah Lutz at -- Follow Hannah on Twitter: @hm_lutz

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