"We have companies saying, 'This is a breaking point for us. Help us," ' observes Val DiFebo, President of advertising agency Deutsch/NY.
As CBS News correspondent Priya David reports, for automaker Hyundai, that means helping consumers by sharing the risk of a high-dollar purchase.
A Hyundai commercial spells it out: "Right now, buy any new Hyundai and if, in the next year, you lose your income, we'll let you return it."
"That's new messaging," DiFebo observes. "It's also permission for people to make that big purchase with some kind of security belt for them."
Financial companies such as Charles Schwab are working to restore trust, David notes.
"People want to know," DiFebo says, "that there's a soul behind a company that's accountable because, now, you know what" 'I'm on the line." '
On the other hand, David points out, some companies are cashing in on the economic troubles.
A new beer is named "Bailout Bitter" so, the brew master says, "There's a flowery, fruity nose, which gives an indication that there will be regrowth in the economy."
But how real are the deals being offered?
"The problem," David says, "is that many of these merchandisers and dealers got stuck with so much inventory (after the holiday sales season) that they're really doing anything they can to push it out of their stores."
What are some of the industries most actively doing deals?
According to David:
Now isn't a bad time to buy one. Even capitalizing on sales from American dealers isn't a terrible idea. Chrysler and GM are both offering zero percent financing on certain 2008 models. Hyundai is actually allowing your to return your car if you lose your income within the first year. Volvo has launched a campaign in Australia offering buyers free gas and servicing for three years!
It's OK to be wary when you see all those travel deals; often, you see rock-bottom airline prices, but omitted from the advertisements are the hidden costs of baggage fees, travel insurance, even fees your online agency takes without you realizing. But it's quite hard to deny the hotel deals being advertised. In New York, there are tons of luxury hotels offering, "Buy two nights, get one free," even including the Waldorf and Plaza! Other tourist spots, like Hawaii, D.C., Miami and Las Vegas are also offering incredible deals -- you can stay at the world-famous Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel for $59 a night!
Cars and vacations are obviously on the higher end of the spending scale, no matter how you splice it. But what about everyone's favorite New Year's resolution -- going to the gym? There are great deals out there to make your resolution easier to keep. Gold's Gym, for instance, is running an online promotion that waives the $99 enrollment fee for new members (but includes a $19.99 administrative fee). Curves Gym is offering one month free, then half off the monthly membership fee. An upscale gym in Los Angeles, SportsClub/LA, is even letting members return with no need to pay the one-time initiation fee, which can be at least $600, and no membership dues for two months, a savings for some of at least $330.
The electronics industry really suffered this past holiday season. Along with apparel, tech gadgets just sat on shelves while prices got slashed and slashed. But if you dare enter discount stores (like Wal-Mart), as opposed to the brand name stores themselves (like an Apple Store), you'll find some great deals on excellent products. Right now, Best Buy is offering the 16GB iPod Touch for $220, a $60 discount from the regular $280 price. Buy it online, and you'll also get a free $15 iTunes gift card. Circuit City and Best Buy both have sales of up to 30 percent off select digital cameras. And that's not to mention online sites like Brookstone.com, Amazon.com and computergeeks.com, which are offering upwards of 70% off their electronics right now.
There are deals on food out there!! The restaurant industry isn't immune to recession, and even the highest-end eateries know it. From West Coast ski resorts to East Coast steakhouses, restaurant patrons can definitely find deals. Another perk to restaurants seeing less business and being that much more accommodating As a result? You can use their space! As The New York Times reports, many upscale places are happy to let you rent out their facilities for much less than they would have before.