Last week I received a phone call from a popular NZ car magazine asking me if I would be willing to give them some input into a car security feature they would be running in their next issue.
I was told that they were impressed with my efforts to raise standards in NZ which is why they wanted me to feature in their magazine. The editorial would advise their readers about what systems were effective and focus on both security and the thieves. They said they already had input from an ex-car thief.
A couple of days later an email arrived from the magazine thanking me for my time. It went on to outline the proposed feature layout which would have the usual photo of a man wearing a balaclava and… erm, space for my company name!
There was also a price list attached and they would offer me a 50% discount on the $3000.00 they normally charged for a feature. (Feature is a misleading term for an advert!)
There was also the sales pitch stating how many readers they have and what impact it could have on my business.
Follow up phone call…
Yesterday came the call asking if I would like to go ahead. I politely declined and pointed out that I don’t pay for adverts. I already have enough work on thanks to the website and referrals from existing customers.
Now you would have thought that they should have offered to pay for my time and advice. Afterall they need some good fodder to help fill a couple of pages of their rag!
To be fair I would probably have helped out for free if I felt that the story had any integrity. I certainly was not going to entertain the idea of paying them for a glossy advert when they had approached me in such a sly manner.
Compromised Security Advice
The problem with most magazines is that they depend on money from advertisers, so if they want to run a page reviewing alarms or explaining how they could be more effective then they would need to be very careful not to upset the brand that pays for an advert…
One of the biggest issues we have right now is piss poor immobilisers that lack security cases along with remote controls that are to easy to clone. Yet would a magazine be likely to point this out if they were going to upset the likes of AVS, Mongoose etc, the risk of losing their advertising money would be too great? Come on, it’s never going to happen.
So if you purchase a magazine with a car security feature next month, take a look at who has paid for the feature plugging a new alarm system and ask yourself why there are questions asking why the siren is rubbish…