One of the most important jobs your advertising can perform is to build trust, which explains why even the WORST advertising messages still are somewhat effective.
The mere ACT of buying advertising, whether it’s on television, newspaper, billboards or radio automatically grants you a baseline level of trust with potential customers. There’s almost a “Hey, I’ve heard of that company- they must be OK.”
One company that really understood the importance of building trust was Lifelock. For the past 2 years, Lifelock founder Todd Davis has been advertising his social security number on radio, television and anywhere else he could post it as a trust building practice in Lifelock advertising.
Unfortunately, this advertising tactic is backfiring on Davis. According to Wired News:
Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn’t work as promised and he knew it wouldn’t, because the service had failed even him.
Go ahead. Read the article. Read about how Lifelock is being sued in Arizona for OTHER misleading claims, including the $1 Million service guarantee. Read about how the credit reporting agency Experian has their own bone to pick with Lifelock and their business practices. Read the article and see if you’re willing to sign up for Lifelock’s services.
The problem with trust is that it is hard to earn and easily lost.
Advertising is about building trust, and Lifelock had earned a lot of trust with their advertising campaign. In an era when people are told to carefully guard their social security numbers, Todd Davis stood up and displayed his for the world to see. Tens of thousands of people said, “Gee. His service must be REALLY good! I think I’ll sign up,” upon seeing and hearing those ads.
Now, lawsuits abound as angry customers strike back because they feel they were lied to in order to gain their trust. Turns out, Todd Davis’ identity HAS been stolen repeatedly because of Lifelock’s ads… and according to the plaintiffs in the case… that means he knew he was lying.
In any case, Lifelock is about to learn a valuable lesson in the fragility of trust.