How Not To Market Your Company: Pretend to Be Disabled

Full disclosure: I grew up in Riverside County in California. Please don’t hold it against me…

There are some marketing practices that just aren’t effective. There are marketing practices that are also unethical, perhaps even illegal. And then there are marketing practices that manage to be effective (for a short time) despite being unethical and possibly illegal.

Having worked in telemarketing (I wasn’t any good at it), I am quite aware of just how ineffective and unethical most telemarketing actually is. In fact, years ago I received a check from a class action settlement as a former employee of one telemarketing firm that was found in violation of a number of laws.

But this really surprises me. At least in 2011. United Handicap Assembled Products claimed to sell products assembled by disabled people. To increase sales, they wanted to emphasize the company’s branding in an unbelievable manner:

The company is out of business after Tuesday’s raid by Riverside Police. Police believe close to 90 percent of the telemarketers working for the company would make calls pretending to be disabled in order to play on the emotions of customers and, then cash in.

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