Stretching is OK. Lying isn’t.

Marketing tip #1: Read everything. You never know where your next brilliant idea will come from.

To wit, while skimming through the classifieds of our local paper this weekend, I came across an ad for a used car. A 2001 Chevrolet Malibu, advertised, in the paper’s words, as a "replica of winner 08 car of the year."

Looking past the obviously stellar grammar, I surmise they’re referring to the 2008 version of the Malibu, which has been well-reviewed and has indeed won Motor Trend’s coveted Car of the Year award.

My take: I think we’re all used to a little hyperbole and creative use of language in the world of sales and marketing. In real estate, for example, "close to transportation" means "located on a four-lane highway" and "motivated vendors" means "we’re one step ahead of the federal authorities." But at some point, you cross a line where stretching it becomes an outright lie. A car designed in the late 90s and built through the early half of this decade isn’t a replica of anything released in 2008. Even the most ignorant consumer would eventually figure that out.

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