Advertising gimmick backfires; company cancels pseudo official-looking ad

An unknown number of residents got the below official-looking notice in the mail the past couple weeks from Mid Atlantic Exteriors (MAE), but after numerous complaints made to Better Business Bureau, Bill Bowen, sales and marketing manager of Mid Atlantic said the company cancelled the mailing promotion.

Bowen refused to acknowledge the mailing looked misleadingly official.  He also said he didn't agree with those who complained it looked 'too' official.  The company said that because of the complaints, whether justified or not, it cancelled the ad campaign to keep customers from complaining.

The campaign mailing, Bowen said, was prepared by Direct Mail Marketing of Chesapeake.  "We've asked them to cancel the campaign and we are in the process of sending out letters explaining the notice is not an official one to those who've already received them."

Bowen said the mailing was confined to Virginia Beach up to Richmond.

The 34-year-old firm has over 100,000 customers, he said and the BBB web site bears out that the company is in good standing with that agency.