Dumb moments in marketing – Nashville Blockbuster franchisee

Dumb moments in marketing – Nashville Blockbuster franchisee: The Blockbuster franchisee in Nashville (31 locations) has just created a new Netflix subscriber, me. They are one of the fine print exceptions to the “only at participating locations” disclaimer on the “no more late fees” Blockbuster advertising campaign. Perhaps, it’s the irony of the national advertising campaign so compellingly explaining how outraged customers are at late fees and how grateful customers are that Blockbuster is changing its model, that makes the local franchisee’s decision so absurd. One rexblog reader has already e-mailed me suggesting a boycott. I’m game.

I’m sure I’ll be doing a follow-up post on this when the franchisee issues a statement saying something like, “Did we say we weren’t doing that ‘no more late fees’ thing?” Sure, we’re doing it. What do you think we are? Stupid? Or, more likely, “Our customers have told us they want the new policy and we’ve agreed with our customers, blah, blah.”

Nashvillians, arise!

Update: Quote from Tennessean article:

The ”no late fee” policy applies at Blockbuster’s more than 4,500 company-owned stores nationwide and at about half of its 1,100 franchised locations, stores operated by local merchants. But Nashville’s 31 area stores are owned by a franchisee that has opted to continue charging late fees, a move that’s allowed under franchising deals with Blockbuster…”We are very aware and sorry that the national advertisement is causing some confusion among customers,” said Tom Barzizza, vice president of marketing for Southern Stores, a Memphis-based holding company that owns all of Blockbuster’s Nashville outlets and about 60 others in the Southeast.

  • Tom

    I’ve been boycotting them for like four years now, so I’ll be glad to play along.

    Oh, and that “no late fees” thing sort of doesn’t apply if you keep the movie 7 days, I’m sure you know by now – that’s when they charge you market value of the flick. If you return it after that, you get that charge back – less the restocking fee.

  • Mr Roboto

    The strangest thing I noticed about the Tennessean article was that their lead quote was from Susan Passi-Klaus, a regular columnist for The City Paper.

    And, yeah, “local Blockbusters suck” was the 2nd thing.

  • Shawn Lea

    I’ve been with NetFlix for three years now – it’s great. And I haven’t paid a late fee in three years.

  • Hudge

    Tom’s right -there is some significant fine print even for the stores that are doing this. But the local franchisee may come to rue his stand, and discover that late really is better than never.

  • Mr Roboto

    For what it’s worth, I just joined the Blockbuster by mail service and I have really enjoyed it.

    First, it’s cheaper than Netflix by about $4 a month. (Although NF has many more user interface options.) Second, immediately upon joining, you get (and received monthly thereafter) two free in store BB rentals. All in all, a pretty good deal. Nashville’s movies come from an Atlanta distribution center, so you get your movies very quickly.

    Also, if you are trying one of those “free ipod” deals, BB.com counts as one of your five possible transactions.

  • lcreekmo

    Everyone should boycott Blockbuster just on their sheer stupidity.

  • Mr Roboto

    Hey, if everyone boycotted Blockbuster, then maybe I could finally find the newest releases available. “Guaranteed Available” was another of those national campaigns that wasn’t necessarily adhered to locally.

  • Hudge

    mrroboto’s comment about shopping during a boycott reminds me of the time the butchers union struck Kroger. My wife raced to the store to load up on the steaks, roasts, chops and so on management had deeply discounted to get out of the coolers before they spoiled. Despite having been a union member once upon a time and raised in a union household (Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen), I had no problem enjoying the feasts thereafter.

  • JRob

    BB sucks. They told a friend that they weren’t participating because
    they found overwhelming success with their 77-cent-a-day late fees. But that late fee doesn’t apply to new releases–new releases are $2.50.

  • Anonymous

    Biased video store owner opinion coming: You’re all crazy if you think you will still be paying $15+ a month for 3 movies out come 2007. Or no late fees for that matter. It simply can’t be done and any company in “that” business is loosing money and will continue to. Round trip snail-mail for 1 DVD costs a little under $1. So if you check out 10 movies per month with Netflix, they begin to loose money. Get rid of in-store late fees and you’ll never have a selection cause no person will return the movies to begin with. Blockbuster revenue 2003: -$300 million
    Blockbuster out of business 2007: priceless