White Dress? No Ride for You!

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In the world of marketing to women, there’s no greater three-ring circus than the bridal industry.  An entertaining article in The New York Times takes a look at the Great Bridal Expo, where you’ll find booths promoting porta-potties with Oriental rugs, botox, and teeth whitening.

But this one kills me:  East Coast Limousine.  The “wedding special” for a 22-passenger excursion is $720 for 3 1/2 hours (including champagne & a car horn that plays “Here Comes the Bride”).  When asked what the regular rental would be without the wedding, the answer is $576 for a four-hour minimum.

“A four-hour minimum is $576.” So you could spend $144 less and receive a half-hour more? Why not do that instead?

“You can’t,” the saleswoman replies. If it’s a wedding, you must do the wedding special. “If the bride and groom are in the car, you can’t do it. We’ve pulled in, and there is a woman in a wedding dress, and they can’t do it. The car had to leave.”

After taking a few steps away, Ms. Mead said, “This is the kind of thing that I’m really interested in — that mentality: you’re going to get the horns whether you want them or not.”

She imagines the scene: “They won’t let you in,” she repeats, picturing the bride, groom and 20 other passengers stranded on a street as the limo driver slams the door and pulls away. “That’s the one you need the videographer for.”

Some special.  It never boggles my mind how some companies get it backward.  Why not make the special the cheaper package, and build brand loyalty with customers who would most likely use you for anniversaries, birthdays, prom, graduation…?  Yet another case of short-term thinking.

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2 Responses to “White Dress? No Ride for You!”

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  1. Mary Schmidt says:

    But, I’d love to see how this clueless company would do a “funeral special…”

  2. Michele,
    Thanks for sharing this. Indeed, it does boggle the mind why a business so dependent on goodwill and positive word of mouth would almost intentionally create situations that generate negative experiences? Do they think that videographer hasn’t heard of YouTube?
    As for your notion of “short-term thinking”, I would suggest that the wedding industry itself is caught in that trap. Having gotten married just over 18 months ago, the experience is still fresh in my and my wife’s minds. We had the pleasure of dealing with wonderful people and businesses who wanted to make our day special. Sadly, we also had to deal with people whose clear motive for getting in the wedding business was the almighty dollar. Unfortunately, all too many businesses hear the word “wedding” and add an extra zero (or two) to their regular price.
    Glad to see your still kicking butt as always.
    …Michael (ex-WOMMA)

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