The CITI Costco sign is the newest in a long series of advertisements sponsored by the credit card giant. As the name suggests, the ads show a man or woman on the sign with a grocery list. He points out that CITI is “the one stop shop” for all expenses. “CITI gives you the best prices on the things you need – groceries, gas, electricity, clothing, and entertainment”. The advertisement ends with the message, “CITI makes shopping easy.”
Now, I am not sure about anyone listening to this ad who actually believes that CITI is “the one stop shop”. After all, who would buy from CITI when they are available at many other locations? And really, isn't it the cashier, not the company, who is the one who knows where to get the best deal on the things you need? If they are selling at a much better price at another location, why would they continue to sell there?
CITI is not the only company promoting this type of advertising. Other corporations also have been known to use similar language. But, they too have a problem. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission sent out a letter to all of the companies that were participating in the CITI advertisements.
They asked them if they had any guidelines for the content of the advertisements. The answer was, “We don't”. So, what do they do when a customer asks about getting a CITI Costco Sign? Do they have a manager or someone in marketing, whose only job is to look at the copy of the advertisement and interpret it as advertising? Or do they look at the background of the company and ask some questions about its performance?
In my opinion, this is not an appropriate thing to do. I have worked for many different companies that promote their advertisements in this manner and I can say that it is very rarely effective. It tends to turn people off. Some will say it's just good old fashion marketing. They are right, but they have obviously never worked in advertising or marketing.
Perhaps, this is what is missing from the CITI brochure and ad copy. They need to add some kind of guidelines to it. And, they should be consistent. Otherwise, they are committing fraud and they must be stopped.
Does this mean that CITI is a fraud? No, it is not. But, perhaps they could be a little stricter with who they send their brochures to. They need to make sure they get consent before sending these types of advertisements. If they don't ask, the recipient probably won't. However, if they do ask, then maybe they could be a little more careful.
Will CITI do anything about it? I doubt it because fraud is a huge issue within the retail industry and they already have a lot of rules and regulations in place. The loss of business for them would be devastating. If they were to follow through on stopping fraudulent CITI Costcoers, then they would suffer greatly. Now, if they didn't do anything, then it would be devastating.
A couple of years ago, CITI Costcoers tried to go after their worst customers. Those customers were the ones that were un-returned and did nothing wrong. They were the worst kind of customers that you could imagine. So, they made it hard for the best customers to apply for a Costco membership.
There were two problems with this. One, this was stupid because everyone could tell that the person calling was not a real representative. They were arrogant and sounded as if they knew everything. The second problem was, they were very rude and treated the customer poorly. Many of them made the customer feel like he or she was an idiot.
It seems that the Costco board is now realizing that this type of behavior is not going to get them anywhere. They are also cracking down on the salespeople for doing things that are not in the company's favor. It is a good thing because if the company truly cared about customer service, then they would stop this kind of thing from happening.
It is still possible for someone to apply for a Costco membership without being forced to have a CITI Costco sign up. For those people who are willing to put the work in, can gain admittance into Costco. If you cannot find a place that will accommodate your needs, then just call CITI and see what they can do for you. You never know, it may be the answer you were looking for.
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