Chris Cardell "Newspaper Cutting" Advert: Scam, Spam or Great Marketing?

Chris Cardell "Newspaper Cutting" Advert: Scam, Spam or Great Marketing?

It Vexes Me...

That the latest marketing ploy from Chris Cardell is so close to misrepresenting himself that it reminds me of the Wild West. He's achieved huge levels of success already from a mixture of marketing methods, but now it seems he's sunk to new levels. Let me explain.

I Recently Received A Personal-Looking Letter...

with what seemed to be a handwritten envelope.  Maybe it's just me, but there's nothing that sets the mind into a dizzy spin quite like handwriting on a card-sized envelope.  Imagine how intrigued I was, then, to discover what appeared to be a newspaper clipping folded up inside it.  Right in the middle of the page was stuck another example of the handwriting from the letter, this time a personal message from a friend who signed it "J":-

"I saw this and thought you'd find it useful - he's really good!  J"

It was on a Post-It note. But, it made me think...

Who Do I Know That Would Ever Sign Themselves as "J"?...

By now my hackles were raised a little. My good friend Jonathan would never sign his name like this - it's way to pretentious for a northern lad! Out of morbid curiosity (morbid in the sense that I'd be letting some of my time die while I did this!), I read the clipping only to realise it was a fake article, made to look like a page out of The Times but in real terms was a thinly veiled advertising campaign

It was from Chris Cardell and was pitching his 6 CD set, "Essential Profit Strategies". The offer is very powerful - £295 worth of CDs if you pay the post and packing. The bit that almost caught me out, though, was the fact that I was signing up for his monthly subscription service. You can't just get the free CDs without becoming a member. A quick search on the internet for "how to cancel Chris Cardell" quickly revealed that many others had come this way before. I decided not to bother joining.

But, my interest piqued, I did do a bit more looking around and found that as you type his name into Google, one of the suggested searches that Google offers to you tags "scam" onto the end of his name.  Obviously a lot of people thinking the same thing.

In fact, Duncan Bannatyne appears in a photo with Cardell in this advert.  Yet Bannatyne, like most famous people, is photographed all the time with people and in this case has personally written on Twitter that it's a scam.  You can find Duncan Bannatyne's Twitter feed here.

It was then that I discovered he's been reported to the Advertising Standards Agency who reviewed his advert and upheld 2 out of 3 breaches of the Advertising Code.

Here's The Ad I Received...

It looks like a newspaper cutting, but it's an advert for Chris Cardell's membership club.  A scam or clever marketing?
It looks like a newspaper cutting, but it's an advert for Chris Cardell's membership club. A scam or clever marketing?

Here's Somebody Else Who's Been Caught...

This images comes from http://seagalinvestigations.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/clever-marketing-it-certainly-is-not/ - that's another guy who's been
This images comes from http://seagalinvestigations.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/clever-marketing-it-certainly-is-not/ - that's another guy who's been "hit" by this dodgy advert

The ASA's Judgement Is Very Clear...

"The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Cardell Media to ensure future marketing communications were designed and presented in such a way that it was clear they were marketing communications, and to ensure they held independent documentary evidence to substantiate claims including those in testimonials, in future."

Chris Cardell, as I understand it, is a former radio ad space salesman turned presenter who switched into selling marketing tips to small businesses. His own marketing efforts appear to know now bounds, seemingly. Sadly this one seems to have backfired.

He offers tidbits of information, which some businesses figure out how to put into action, while others find difficult without some help to apply the ideas to their businesses. Click the link to read a Chris Cardell review of how working with a business coach helped him on a more practical level to achieve tangible results.

 

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