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January 10, 2005 06:30 PM

Broken: Blockbuster tagline

BlockbusterDan Newman follows up the Comcast flyer with this:

You may be aware that Blockbuster recently ended late fees. However, their advertising tagline for this move is incredibly poorly worded... in every store, on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, etc, it says "The end of late fees, the start of more."

I know what they meant. However, at face value, the statement seems to imply that they're ending these current late fees and introducing new fees.

See live page here.


Sad. They trademarked it, too. :^)

Posted by: []D [] []V[] []D at January 10, 2005 06:44 PM

Lets play count the trademarks and copyrights... but on a side note, or really, the main point of this, i realize they were getting rid of late fees because people were just, keeping the movies... so pretty much, now they are renting the movie to you, and selling it to you additionally if you dont return it, isnt it just cheaper and easier to buy the movie in the first place, otherwise they're just like a movie store but cost an extra 5 bucks and more hassle.

personally, i havent rented a movie from anywhere in a long time so i dont really give a crap what they do.

Posted by: Dragon at January 10, 2005 07:07 PM

Horrible ad copy. Horrible.

Posted by: LeberMac at January 10, 2005 08:13 PM

yea no more late fees but(I don't know how many days of grace u get to keep the movie/game) if u turn it in too late they just charge ur account and u just buy whatever u rented

Posted by: Leigh at January 10, 2005 08:14 PM

I just looked at the website now. and according to the website. u have 7days for any rental. on the 8th day it is no longer a rental and is now a sale and up the fee to as u just bought the movie/game. and even then u have an additional 30days to return the movie/game to have a refund.

*additional note. terms of service and agreements are subject to change without notice. so yeah they still have a chance to screw many in the end if they choose

Posted by: Leigh at January 10, 2005 08:24 PM

It's a lame attempt to compete with Netflix. Eh...I hope Blockbuster goes out of business.

Posted by: Parcy at January 10, 2005 09:55 PM

Well, you know that blockbuster was getting worried when they launched their competing dvd-by-mail service, and their instore changes just showed how much heat they were feeling. Since they have deep corporate pocketbooks they can undercut netflix prices, but their poor website design and more limited selection mean I'm staying with netflix. Plus, I can thumb my nose at the corporate giant.

Posted by: Maurs at January 10, 2005 10:17 PM

In addition, not all Blockbusters are changing their late fee policy, either... the ones in my local area are staying with the old system.

Posted by: codeman38 at January 11, 2005 12:06 AM

I read an article (on, I think) when it was announced. They're not really getting rid of fees at all. This will probably make them more money than late fees did, IMHO. Basically, you don't have a standard late fee, but if you keep the title for 2 weeks (? or something to that effect), you are charged the full price (which will be inflated, as most blockbuster buying prices area) of it, effectively buying the title.

Posted by: Isaac at January 11, 2005 12:33 AM

In the TOS - at least, last week when I read them - when they charge you for the video (if you keep it longer than a week past the due date), you're actually paying the price Blockbuster would charge for a used copy of the video, as though they'd pulled it off the rental shelf and marked it for sale. In addition, your rental fee is apparently deducted from that cost.

So it's not *as* bad as people are making it out to be - but I still can't help but see it in a negative light. (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that's an amazingly bad slogan. Is it just me, or have a remarkably large number of advertisers these days slept through marketing school?)

Posted by: Chris Anthony at January 11, 2005 07:22 AM

I'm pretty POed at Blockbuster for such false advertising. On their tv commercials they do nothing to tell you that you will actually pay for the damn things when they're late.

Hopefully it's obvious when you go rent - or else this is just a money making scheme and the first thousands of customers will end up paying for the movies because they didn't know.

I'm not a fan of this at all, and they lost a customer with me. It's not right to just advertise what part of a change they want you to hear - they should say it all.

Posted by: brooke at January 11, 2005 10:39 AM

The Blockbuster tag line is awesome -- poorly-planned ad copy cracks me up every time. The first time I saw the commercial I laughed and thought, "What, they're introducing 'more' late fees?!"

Posted by: Jen at January 11, 2005 11:58 AM

Technically, the "...end of late fees." and the "...start of more." are two different paragraphs, and therefore, the "more" doesn't really refer to anything at all. Just more.

This would only imply the start of more fees if there were a comma after "The end of late fees."

So... everybody's grammar is broken, not Blockbuster's ad.

Posted by: MinkOWar at January 11, 2005 03:22 PM

They're not two separate paragraphs, they are two separate statements/sentences, each occupying it's own line.

- I met a friend for lunch.

- We went to see a movie.

Anyone reading that is going to assume the the "we" in the second setence refers to myself and the person I has lunch with, even though that may not be the case. You would probaby even assume that we saw the movie after lunch on the same day.

The writer's of the ad should have known that context has a significant impact on meaning. I'm really amazed that this one wasn't picked up before it went to print.

Posted by: Gili at January 11, 2005 05:21 PM

the way they have it worded they are saying

"The End of Little 25 cent Late Fees,

Now if it is late you buy the whole movie."

Posted by: Cameron at January 11, 2005 06:35 PM

Actually, it is the start of more: They just extend the grace period one week. I'd say it's broken because of false advertising. They still have late fees.

Posted by: Maximus at January 11, 2005 08:06 PM

On the Blockbuster Web Page it also states that even though you pay the purchase price for the dvd if it's returned after the grace period, you can still return it within the next 30-days and get the money back. But then you have to pay something like $1.85 for a re-stocking fee, so they can get it back into their system. So it sounds to me like they aren't trying to rip people off as much as you may think, because the $1.85 is less than what a normal late fee would be.

Posted by: Micah at January 11, 2005 09:10 PM

You have to admit that this is a better deal for renters. However, it truly is false advertising. The "end of late fees" is completely false. The late fee is now the complete price of the movie or the restocking fee, albeit a longer grace period.

Where Blockbuster really screwed up is that they had to have known that their market would be skeptical of this new promotion (hence the "wow, this is unbelievable" type advertising). Every potential Blockbuster customer around the nation is asking, "what's the catch?" Once they find out, they may be turned off all together, or at the very least, Blockbuster loses the momentum they built up through the hype. If they would have explained the complete model, the potential customer would be left with a "hey, that's reasonable and a good deal for me" rather than a "I knew there was trickery in there somewhere" feeling.

Posted by: Joe at January 12, 2005 09:57 AM

Hello??? People are saving themselves money...A two day rental for 4.02 kept 6 days would cost them another $8 in late fees. With this program if they keep a 2 day rental for 6 days and return it then they pay late fee. Thats the point. That is what it means. If your a prick and decide to keep your movie 7 days AFTER the due date (total of 9 days to watch a movie) you should be charged for the movie price. Your keeping it from others who want to rent. Keep in mind, the charge is the price of the movie minus what was paid to rent it. And if its been out for a month then its the previously viewed price. So the account is only charged $9 (older than 30 days) or $18 (newer than 30 days) and they keep the movie. Oh and did I mention that you can still return your movie 30 days after your charged for only the $1.25 (at my store). So, if a person wants to be a prick they can keep a movie for 39 days for only $1.25. How is that a rip off??????

Posted by: Brian at January 13, 2005 12:37 PM

I was the one who originally submitted this... I'm not commenting on the program itself (because although it is probably a good thing for the customer, I can't see how Blockbuster can make can make more money by doing this), merely the tagline being very, very broken.

Posted by: Dan Newman at January 13, 2005 11:57 PM

when i went to blockbuster to get a movie, all the good ones were out. ppl are gonna get lazy and arent gonna return them. dumb move blockbuster. dumb move. p.s. WHAT IS THE SONG IN THE BLOCKBUSTER goes something like this (its over, its over) and thasts all i know

Posted by: karl at January 17, 2005 12:45 PM

The end of late fees

The beginning of more fees!!

Can you believe these marketing professionals can be so idiotic, I am in the cellular industry. Its like saying "Free Phone" but then charging a $50.00 processing fee.

Posted by: amused at January 19, 2005 10:57 AM

So, "Amused", your in the cell business. I'm reminded of Sprint and their "no overages" bullshit. They say they don't charge for minutes over the plan. But will gladly charge $5.00 for 100 minutes. Wouldn't that mean they are charging for the overages? And what if you go over the 100 extra? They're realling selling 100 minutes cheaper.

Posted by: Mark at January 19, 2005 04:55 PM

Karlk: Um, it's called, "It's Over". By Roy Orbison.

Posted by: Jeff at January 19, 2005 08:43 PM

what else is there to say?



since there's no subject in the 2nd line, (just generally MORE) it sounds like it's referring to the top line.



this is so totally broken. i hope their ad designers rot in hell for this, and even that couldn't save blockbuster.

Posted by: Bob at April 13, 2005 07:51 AM


the page screwed up my nice-looking lines!

Posted by: Bob at April 13, 2005 07:52 AM

I actually pointed this out to the people at my local blockbuster store when they put up the monster signs in their windows. They didn't even get it for a while, and then, they just said that no one cared anyway. Great customer handling, huh?

Posted by: Genius Chick at April 29, 2005 04:35 PM

Blockbuster isn't making more money without late fees. They ALWAYS sold stuff to customers if they didn't bring it back after 7 days PAST THE DUE DATE. Anywhere that rents ANYTHING will do that. Just be happy that you don't have to pay $2 a day that its late.'s 7 days for you to be a goddamn idiot!

Posted by: Guest at June 2, 2005 03:01 PM

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