Opportunity Lost or Gained?

I noticed this letter from “We Buy Any Car” to the owner of a “Playmobil Little Tikes Car” recently and was curious about how this came to be:

We buy any car, but not Playmobils

We buy any car … but not Playmobils …

Let’s re-imagine the scenario:

Instead of the letter above, We Buy Any Car could have decided to pay the full price of the Playmobil, perhaps deducting some money for ‘wear and tear’ 🙂 and then present the owner of the item with a cheque as part of a TV campaign for the company.  Better still, perhaps they might have presented the child with a bond to the value of the car to be redeemed on their 18th birthday as a downpayment for a real car … and so on.  Just think how the company could have turned this round to their advantage …  Just a little bit of creativity needed really.

Well, it transpires that the letter was fake, although the story went viral and it certainly fooled me at the time of writing this blog.  Here is the turnaround strategy via a spoof website called “We Buy Any Toy Car.com“.  This is a great response to the fake letter.

We buy any car's turnaround strategy

We buy any car’s turnaround strategy

What would have your preferred creative reversal of this opportunity for We Buy Any Car?  Post your thoughts here.


About the Blogger:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk


7 responses to “Opportunity Lost or Gained?

  1. My suspicion is that they were concerned that they would become the eBay for used toy cars – but, yes, they could have handled it much better, say by offering a token amount like ÂŁ1 and giving the car to charity (which they could afford to sustain when more people followed up).

    I think they could learn a lot from an experience I had with Sky. In the early days you could only get replacement remote controls from Sky themselves. We had to ask for one a couple of times because our (then young) dog had a habit of chewing them. When we wrote to them a third time, pointing out it was because the dog was so fond of their remotes, we got sent not one, but two remotes, with the second labelled ‘for the dog’.


  2. It’s a shame their excellent response to the spoof (I was taken in by it too) hasn’t had more publicity. However I am a little suspicious of one thing. Their release says ‘must have two doors, a roof, pedals and no floor’ – now it’s a long time since we had one of these, but as I remember, they don’t have pedals – you make them go by pushing along on the floor. So the cynic in me says they’ve a typical We Buy Any Car get out clause here. But maybe I’m remembering wrong!


  3. My guess is they’re a bit less than reputable, and didn’t appreciate having the tables turned on them. No sense of humor! And as you say, a lost opportunity.


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