Car buying is a delicate negotiation, but don’t call it haggling. Edmunds.com found that out the hard way with a YouTube ad campaign that spoofed car salesmen with videos involving "haggling" copy, offending car dealers.
Edmunds.com has since removed the offending ads after dealers across the country threatened to pull their business from the car-shopping site.
Edmunds.com president Seth Berkowitz said in a statement: "Our digital videos illustrating the 'Absurdity of Haggling' missed the mark. Some of our partners were deeply insulted, expressing that our attempt at humor reinforced outdated stereotypes. That was obviously never our intent. It has created a distraction from our business of helping to make car shopping easier. We are terminating the videos and getting back to working with our dealer partners to improve the car buying process for car shoppers around the country."
The ads portrayed car dealers as unethical negotiators as part of the Edmunds.com campaign that showed that their site is easy to use and "haggle-free." In the ads, consumers shop for a variety of grocery items from a store clerk that is negotiating prices.
The "no haggle" campaign was meant to promote Edmunds.com's "Price Promise," a program that allows consumers to get a guaranteed price on a car. Car dealers pay to post their inventory on Edmunds.com and took issue at being portrayed as stereotypes taking advantage of customers.
Kevin Frye, e-commerce director for the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family in Cincinnati, led the campaign against Edmunds.com and the Wyler dealership has since cancelled it's subscription with the website.