The commercials put hidden cameras in a grocery store and tried to convince people to negotiate for goods including milk, bread and squash. The checkout cashier used classic tactics like calling his manager and offering to throw in things the buyer didn't want to try to persuade them to overpay. While the ads are no longer on Edmunds' YouTube page, Ad Age still has two of them available, and they're viewable below.
Edmunds claims that the commercials were meant as an exaggerated joke showing off outdated sales techniques, but dealers evidently didn't get the joke. According to Ad Age, some showrooms even cancelled their subscriptions with Edmunds to advertise cars on the website. The sellers felt that the company was undermining their business when they were supposed to be partners.
According to Ad Age, Edmunds initially had no intention of removing the commercials, but it eventually took them down. In a statement, company president Seth Berkowitz said in part, "Our digital videos illustrating the 'Absurdity of Haggling' missed the mark. Some of our partners were deeply insulted, expressing that our attempt at humor reinforced outdated stereotypes. That was obviously never our intent."
Scroll down to watch two of the ads, and see for yourself, then let us know what you think in Comments.