Um, we're not a collection of psychological responses?
Permit me to get annoyed for a moment, as I am one of the reptilian sub-humans to which you refer.
You'll get no argument from me as to whether there are marketers that engage in shameless and empty games. There are and always will be.
However, most transparent marketing ploys are usually rejected by consumers. And that usually hurts the companies. There is an incentive not to pursue these avenues if the marketer is paying attention. Some don't, and when they get stung they may start to. Others never really learn.
In my experience (and I stress MY experience) working on the ad agency side, we advise companies not to do such things. In fact, I spend a good part of my time trying to sell interesting and *gasp* thought-provoking ideas to people who could really give a rat's a$$ about reality. So let's not blame the ad agencies for everything. In the end, we can only deliver what our clients' allow us to create.
Now, the thing that people overlook is that companies that spend a lot of money establishing a brand name are more likely to produce good products and services. Most don't invest all that money in a brand to later sh#t on it by ripping off its customers intentionally. (The ones who do usually fail.) That's why most people buy "brand names." If you were in marketing, you've probably heard this argument before.
As far as the FJR issue goes, I don't know enough to say if it's strictly a ploy or not. I do know that it's frustrating to many people and that could have negative effects for Yamaha down for the line. But since I don't have an insider's view, or a crystal ball, I really couldn't say.
Johnny, you're probably right. I don't have the slightest clue as to what an accurate U.S. sales projection for this bike might be (you may have a better understanding since you have some relationship with the company), but if Yamaha really thought it could sell 10,000 bikes here, they probably wouldn't have this program. My gut tells me that they don't feel like they can sell too many more yet, so they're being conservative. The worst thing for them would be to have a couple of thousand leftovers sitting on showroom floors. If it's a low production bike, their margins have to be higher--leftovers and discounts are the kiss of death.
And I'd have to think that regardless of Yamaha's might and the relatively small production numbers for the FJR, they're trying to make a profit on a bike like this; it's no loss-leader.
That being said, I can see why it frustrates people. I wouldn't want to buy a bike I couldn't see, and at least sit on, before I buy. And the waiting for delivery kinda sucks. Then again, I don't HAVE to buy one. No one does.
Yamaha could be shooting themselves in the foot or it could be working just as they say. We'll see.
Some of the ad/marketing things I see make me cringe, too. And we're definetely in the age of ad overkill. And some of the things marketed to kids like $400.00 sweatsuits are a joke. But if overindulgent parents didn't buy them, there would be no market for them. So it goes both ways.
But let's turn the issue around. The public needs advertising and branding as much as the marketers do. People buy things that say something about them. What you term as finding "weakness," is just as easily defined as emotional need. People like brands (although they're usually not aware of it.) They decry advertising as crap and lies, yet they make most of they're buying decisions based, in large part, on it.
Imagine a world with no advertising where you could only find out about things by reading specs and doing research. You'd never have the time, inclination or knowledge to figure out which freakin' laundry detergent to buy much less the zillion other things you need. Imagine a bunch of no-name, look-alike products that the manufacturers have no vested interest in improving, differentiating or even standing behind.
It'd be a pretty gray world, wouldn't it?
Imagine what motorcycles would be like (shudder.)
Most people say they hate advertising/branding, but they don't even understand how much of an influence it has on them--and what benefits it actually brings.
And about the only time people will have no use for brands is when grim death is staring them in the face. But probably not before.