CRN, the company that will do anything to avoid admitting they simply sell publicly available real-estate foreclosure listings, is either ignoring our wrath or pleased by the publicity, because their latest radio spots dust off yet another nostalgic deception technique: The reverse-psychology sell not seen since, oh, a couple of years ago, when a weight-loss junk-product maker warned us NOT to try it if we only have 5-10 pounds to lose! (Our telemarketers will thoroughly investigate and won’t sell it to you!) Devoted readers of the more arcane AdFreak items will recall CRN’s earlier campaign: using an Emergency Broadcast System-like squawk at the top of the spot to imply that for some reason, the government had to make this life-and-death announcement about foreclosures (counting on listeners to equate “public announcement” with a governmental “no vested interest” information dump). Then they tried the chatty “we interrupt this broadcast”-style con (followed by an inelegant transition to an announcer making sure we got the phone number, and giving away the whole thing). The latest commercial tells some listeners they can’t call right away. Only people whose last names begin with A through O can call today—the rest of the alphabet must call tomorrow. That, apparently, may seem “governmental,” too—to one or two naive listeners. If the technique works, maybe a gas-station chain can say gas rationing is back—only drivers with license plates ending in an even number can visit Exxon today; the rest of you, get in line tomorrow.
—Posted by Gregory Solman