Blog on Timeshare Marketing Provided By Aaronson Law Group:
Normally you don’t notice the absence of something unless it’s a very prominent part of your life. So you would probably never have noticed the fact that there are no ads for timeshares, at least not in the mainstream media. We’ve noticed it, simply because we’re involved with timeshares on a daily basis.
Think about it. Timesharing is a multi-billion dollar industry, and extremely lucrative. You would expect to see extensive timeshare marketing and advertising. But this is simply not the case.
So why are there no ads for timeshares? It really all comes down to one simple issue: Credibility. Or the lack thereof. To be clear, it is simply impossible to tell the truth about a timeshare, and then expect the customer to actually purchase one.
A little background is necessary to appreciate this. Once upon a time, marketing types engaged copiously in a practice known as ‘puffing.’ Puffing was just a euphemism for lying, created by legal apologists for the advertising industry.
And although the term ‘puffing’ was never intended as a pun, it was perfectly exemplified in the advertising and marketing of the tobacco industry prior to about 1960. Until about that time, ads touting the relative merits of cigarette smoking – including its health benefits – could be seen on network television. Even commercials with phony doctors plugging smoking as some kind of elixir were relatively common.
More recently, however, consumer protection statutes and FTC regulations have reduced flagrant puffing to a considerable extent. So would-be puffers now run the risk of civil litigation by private parties, competitors, or an attorney general, if they are caught prevaricating.
And all of this has lead to an interesting media marketing dynamic that has really evolved only in the past decade or so — on-air disclaimers. You cannot help but notice all of the verbal disclaimers that you will hear, if you listen at all, during waning seconds of a car commercial, for example. The manufacturer or dealer will trumpet the blockbuster financing deals on its car. But then toward the end of the ad the narrator, reading the proverbial ‘fine print’, begins to talk faster and faster about the actual terms and conditions of their lease or finance agreement, so fast that he is virtually unintelligible. Much faster, even, than a cartoon chipmunk.
This concern about legal exposure has curtailed false representations in pharmaceutical marketing to such an extent that you can’t help but wonder who would ever dream of actually taking these drugs. Surely you’ve seen it. The television ad effusively presents the incredible benefits of some new wonder drug. Imagery includes happy, healthy looking people doing some wonderful, active things, like jogging down a sunny tree-lined road. Even the music sounds healthy. But then something odd happens. The cheerful, upbeat background music continues, and the people keep jogging down the same road, but the narrator takes a turns down the dirty back road. He begins to disclose, under compulsion, the numerous drug ‘side effects’. And these ‘effects’ almost invariably seem to include debilitating maladies, chronic illnesses, and even death. Remarkably, doctors still prescribe, and patients still take, these medications.
In light of all this, now consider a product that is so inherently flawed, so bereft of meritorious benefit, that it literally can’t even be advertised. At all. But this is precisely what you get with a timeshare. Simply put, no sane, reasonably informed individual would buy into a timeshare obligation. But you won’t catch any TV ad man reading the fine print, so you’re going to have to do it yourself. And chances are you’re already home, and it’s a little late for that.
You’ll notice that the timeshare developer may or may not let you access ‘your’ unit, once a year, its discretion, assuming that it’s not overbooked, and provided that you have enough ‘points’. Read on, and you’ll choke – you can’t re-sell that unit after all – not like the nice salesman said – not without the consent of the developer. And what’s this(?), further down, some disclaimer about ‘no resale market’?
But you will only find this out if you read the fine print of the contract. Don’t expect the salesman to shout it from the rooftops. And don’t look for it on the air.
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