First we had the Hyundai ads.

Buy the car and if you lose your job they’ll take the car back.

They used to call that “reposession”.  I guess they now call that marketing.

Then Ford followed suit.  They did one better.  Buy the truck and they’ll let you hold off on payments for awhile (then they’ll take the truck back!).

Mortgage companies, banks, and insurance companies have also gotten into the act.  “If you’re in trouble, call us,” they say and we’ll work out a deal.  The not-so-subtle marketing message is one of empathy.  We feel your pain.

viagraNow comes Pfizer.

According to reports, if you’re a guy and you lose your job they’ll float you a year’s worth of Viagra.  Yup.  Sound both salacious and stupid?  I thought so.

Wait!  It gets worse.  For the cars, trucks, banks, etc., this recession marketing effort was all about getting people to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do.

Warren Holstein notes that part of the strategy appears to be an effort to keep folks from switching brands or going to god-forsaken generics.  Better to give something away for a little while to maintain brand loyalty in tough times than risk people wandering off and looking for some alternative.

Because hard times shouldn’t mean the end to hard times.

At least there’s no chance of repossession.