I just read a story in the New York Times related to Jiffy Lube and it’s recently changed and newly-lubed marketing approach.  The oil-change brand is infusing some humor into its ads and fresh-penned tagline, “Leave worry behind.”

Ha ha, I get it, Jiffy Lube; you’re poking fun at consumer anxieties.  Good one!  I chose to write about this because the topic is fresh in my mind.  About three months ago, I brought my Jeep Wrangler  in for an oil change at a local mechanic shop.  I moved to a new area about four months ago.

When I picked up my car after the oil change, something I’ve come to almost expect (sarcastically) confronted me.  “You got a leak.  You’ll need a new water pump.”  Admittedly, I can wrap my head around ‘water’ and ‘pump’; but, I have no idea what a “water pump” does, costs, looks like, how to assess if it’s damaged, etc…

It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.  Is this mechanic taking me for a ride, especially since I’m a ‘noob,’ a new person in town?  Maybe it is paranoia, maybe it is experience, but I can’t help but ask the question…

The mechanic mentioned the job would tally over $300.  I’m just a poor writer.  I opted to let it go for a while and get other recommendations.  Two days ago, I brought my Jeep to another mechanic, my landlord’s (who is also my friend) friend.  I told him I needed another oil change and told him about the leak.

For one, he advised me that shops, that solely do minor jobs like oil changes, can ‘beat him out’ on the price of oil changes.  He charges $80.  A “jiffy” place may charge half that or a little more; they get price breaks on oil apparently.  I like having money…but I also like doing business with honest people…  I may shell out the additional $30 to $40 just because this guy was honest.

Additionally, he looked at my ‘leak.’  He did mention a slow leak but nothing I should be immediately concerned about.  I thought that was odd since the first mechanic, from three months ago, mentioned there was “no way” I could let that water pump go for another month (“at the very latest!”)  Hmm…seems two ‘experts’ have a difference in opinion, yes?

Well, let me bring it all in together.  So, Jiffy’s new ad series will poke fun at situations like mine.  From NY Times story:

“Because most people are not proficient in the mechanics of a car, they’re worried when they bring their car in for something that a mechanic will find something different that they weren’t aware of.  There’s always that uncertainty: ‘Is the work being performed on my car really necessary?’”

How many out there, receiving some form of online marketing or SEO advice or services, feel the same way?  I feel your anxiety!  However, I’m not sure if I would lampoon your anxiety to promote online marketing services.

Ethically questionable or unscrupulous practices are not a laughing matter in my world.  I don’t think making light-hearted attempts to express a dark side of an industry is a way to assuage the anxieties of unknowing consumers.  It would be comparable to an SEO company attempting humor at simulating situations of ‘burned’ clients, while simultaneously trying to attract clients with the same needs.

Alternatively, if I’m a brand that recognizes injustices, I may engineer my ads to express an upstanding personality, like the one of the second mechanic, rather than possibly add to the insult of my industry through humor.  What are your thoughts?