Santander Bank: What To Do to get $300?

As competition in retail banking increases, brick-and-mortar banks continue to offer incentives in the form of bonuses to open an account. I recently wrote about TD Bank’s self-mailers. This one from Santander Bank is a simple postcard—in fact, it’s too simple. That’s why it merits a Fail for Creative.

Santander New Customer Postcard
Postcard Front
The front of the postcard prominently messages the opportunity to get a $300 bonus for moving to Santander Bank, but does not explain what that means. The only hint of an explanation is a small message to “See reverse for important information.”

Santander Bank New Customer Offer
Postcard Back

The back of the postcard communicates some of the benefits of banking with Santander and includes a Call to Action to visit a website or visit a nearby branch with the postcard. That’s nice, but what about that $300? What does a prospective customer need to do to get the bonus? The explanation is buried in the long Disclosure. (If you can read the explanation without visual support, you don’t need glasses.) While the 17-line Disclosure is concise, it is not clear to a casual reader. That lack of clarity is a Fail, because who wants to put on reading glasses just to figure out what hoops to jump through to get the bonus?

I’m not a lawyer, so this isn’t legal advice. As a marketer, however, I think the lack of clarity may not only be bad marketing, it may also be a violation of FTC regulations. Current regulations state
“When making ‘Free’ or similar offers all the terms, conditions and obligations upon which receipt and retention of the ‘Free’ item are contingent should be set forth clearly and conspicuously at the outset of the offer so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood.” 
While the terms of the offer to get the free $300 are clear, they are not conspicuous. The offer landing page explains the terms adequately; however, it refers the customer back to the postcard.

Top of landing page

When presenting an offer to a prospective customer, clearly and conspicuously explain what needs to be done to obtain that offer.


Hertz: App Offer "Terms Apply" - What Are They?

Hertz has had a challenging time with their customer app. In fact, execution of their app redesign was so bad that, only a few weeks ago, Hertz sued their marketing partner Accenture (pdf here). So, when Hertz finally had a newly redesigned app ready for prime time, it made sense to promote it.

When promoting engagement of an app, offering an incentive for use is an effective tool. This week, Hertz is offering customers a free car rental day. I recently received the below email as a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member.

Terms Apply

Terms Apply
Hertz new app promotional email with message that "Terms Apply"

According to the email, I can get a free rental day when I use the app. The headline message has an asterisk—or, in this case, a paragraph symbol (¶)—indicating there is a Disclosure on the page regarding the offer. Based on the corresponding paragraph symbol, the Disclosure reads simply, “¶ Offer ends 06/30/19. Taxes and fees excluded. Terms apply.”  

OK, so what are the terms?

I thought the landing page might perhaps have more information; however, it includes only the same Disclosure that “Terms Apply.”

Terms Apply
Landing page. Disclosure circled.

I thought there might be at least a link here to the terms that apply, but there is not. We know from the email that the offer is valid on rentals of 5 days or more and expires on June 30, 2019. The landing page includes the additional Disclosure that the offer is available only in the United States and Canada, but what else? Is it valid in Hawaii? At airport pick-ups? For Hertz Local Edition? Can I combine it with a free upgrade offer? Do AAA discounts or my CDP number combine with this offer? Do I need to reserve at least 7 days in advance?

These are details, but are relevant details that may or may not drive decision. By not sharing them and merely stating, “Terms apply”, this email and related web page merit a Fail for Creative.

I messaged Hertz via Facebook yesterday and asked what terms apply to this offer. They didn’t know. At their request, I shared the above email and landing page. They responded that they will research this. I received some follow-up questions, so they are still researching.

Update 5/17/19: Hertz communicated to me via Twitter:
Hello Marc. When on the app, you will stay on the home page, under the YouTube video, you will click on the promotion that states " App Exclusive", when you click that you will see at the top "Get a free day when you rent for five" and scroll up. It states the offer summary and the Terms and Conditions. If you are still having trouble, please reach back out for further assistance. We will gladly walk you through the steps. Thank you. -DR
This reinforces my point -- that terms are not upfront and hard to find. There is no reason both the email and landing page could have disclosed at least "Please review the offer in our new app for additional terms that apply."

When you present an offer, share the terms of the offer upfront. At the very least, know what they are.