The joke's on Hyundai after half-price offer

If you're going to deal with trade journalists for a living, it helps to know certain things about us.

If you're going to deal with trade journalists for a living, it helps to know certain things about us.

First of all, we don't make the kind of money you guys do. Our salaries fall somewhere between professional poets and guys who teach algebra to prisoners. So if you want to kid around with us, best to avoid jokes about money.

Second, we'll drink pretty much anything you hand us, especially at long, tedious professional events, even if for some bizarre reason you pass around that lethal concoction of beer and whiskey known as a Depth Charger.

Last, we gave up on the dream of owning a high-performance sports car many years ago. So don't offer us half price on a Hyundai unless you mean it.

Alas, this information comes too late for Bong Gou Lee, an executive with Hyundai in Australia.

Mr. Lee was addressing about 30 auto trade journalists in Tasmania earlier this month at the media launch for the new Sonata. After passing around Depth Chargers to everyone (why Bong, why?!), he made a seemingly genuine offer.

"Half price for journalists, tonight only," he said.

According to reports, several journalists jumped on the offer, handing over credit-card numbers and specifying colors. It wasn't until the Sydney Morning Herald - which was not present at the event - began making inquiries last week into the ethically questionable deal that Hyundai recanted.

The company now claims that Lee was only joking, but will go ahead and "loan" the reporters their cars for six months to smooth things over.

It's worth noting that Hyundai is banking on the Sonata to erase the company's image as "a discount company." (Trade journalists love corporate irony, too.)

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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