• Bonus Case Study With Solution

    Persuasive Favor Request: Be Happy–Your House is Hideous!

    The following case study grew out of the proposal for a real cable TV program. Don't you think it will be a hard sell to convince homeowners that they should participate in a show called "Hideous Houses"? See what your students can do with this persuasive favor request.

    Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Seeking Hideous Houses

    As an intern at a major cable network, you have been given a task associated with a new cable show. The network plans to introduce a home makeover show called "Hideous Houses." It will feature not only homes in desperate need of repair but also dwellings deluged with accumulated junk or those with haphazard additions. Producers say they are particularly interested in homes decked out in horrific colors, leopard prints, disco or goth themes, and dated, 1950s looks.

    In preparation for the show, producers conducted multiple searches in three major cities and located hundreds of possible homes for the show. They wanted to avoid homes with structural damage that need to be torn down. Instead, they focused on homes that were eyesores or that exhibited bad taste. In some cases, neighbors recommended a "hideous house" as a possibility for the upcoming show.

    To encourage participation, homeowners could receive up to $20,000 worth of renovations as well as national exposure on a major cable network. Expert designers and contractors will perform the renovation. To be eligible, participants must own the home. The home must have a front yard and two areas in need of major help.

    Producers recognize, however, that many people would be offended by being singled out for this program.

    Your Task. As part of your internship program, producers of Hideous House ask you to prepare a persuasive message or a telephone script inviting a prospective owner to participate in the show. The producer, who used to work with the Oprah show, cautions you to treat the owners with genuine respect. Your goal is to obtain a call back so that you can discuss details. Should you reveal the name of the program?

    Source: Wadler, J. (2012, July 26). Home improvement, whether you asked for it or not. The New York Times, p. D2.


    Possible Solution

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner:

    Would you be interested in participating in a new cable TV show in which two areas of your home would be renovated?

    How do you feel about your home? If you're not fully pleased with its appearance, this is an opportunity to take advantage of a team of expert designers and contractors who contribute up to $20,000 worth of improvements to make your home a showplace in your neighborhood. In addition, you will be featured on a national TV show.

    We've heard that you are beautiful people but that, for whatever reason, maybe your home needs a little sprucing up, a little helping hand. We can do that for you!

    To be eligible, you must own the house, have a front yard, and have two areas that need renovation. The new program, "Hideous Houses," has as its goal turning houses in need of help into attractive ones—and with little effort on the part of the owner.

    If you are interested, call me at 310-457-7330 before June 30 so that I can personally present this offer and discuss the details of how you can improve the appearance of your house with little or no expense to you. Don't miss this chance to make your home the envy of your neighborhood.

    Sincerely,