This morning I received a brilliant email from J. Peterman, one of my favorite brands as well as one of my favorite marketers. The highly provocative headline in the subject line: PETERMAN DENIES WRONGDOING IN ECONOMIC UPSWING. Although I certainly suspected that this was a tongue-in-cheek communication, I simply had to immediately click on the email to see what this was all about.
The email claimed that the company had been accused of “single-handedly turning the economy around.” It cited Mr. Peterman’s press conference denial that he lowered prices in an attempt to move the market, but then reveals his admission that there is a “secret web-only code” that gives special savings to participating customers. (Of course, I was able to click on that phrase and immediately link to their website and access the “secret code.”) It also quoted a respected (but anonymous) economist who speculated about J. Peterman’s success reflecting a “renewed public interest in unique, quality goods.”
Offering savings via discounts always entails the risk of damaging brand equity, particularly for a premium brand like J. Peterman. But if economic conditions dictate that some temporary price reductions are necessary, you can certainly minimize the damage–and perhaps even reinforce your quality image–by taking a creative, amusing approach like this one.
If J. Peterman is ever charged with being a brilliant marketer, no jury in the world would ever acquit him.