Ads featuring businessmen traveling are nothing new for car rental agencies. Remember O.J. Simpson running through airports for Hertz in the ‘70s? That historic campaign, which dubbed Hertz as “the superstar in rent-a-car,” not only changed the face of advertising in this country, it also did wonders for Hertz’ brand favorability and bottom line. At that time, Avis was the “We Try Harder” car rental company, a reference to the fact that they were second to Hertz and therefore had to try harder to gain customers and keep them happy. Along with Enterprise, these two corporations control the majority of the car rental industry today, each owning multiple other brands, so differentiation and innovation remain mission critical.
To that end, rolling out yet another ad about a man going on a business trip may not seem like a formula for success, but Avis’ fresh take on this approach works with viewers. In “Travel Partner,” from Avis’ agency Hello Creative, we see a father packing for a business trip, while his sullen daughter watches disapprovingly. Dad has the genius idea to use his brilliant new Avis app to upgrade to a larger car with a car seat for his little girl so she can accompany him. This is all set to the 1930 song “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” lending an upbeat, somewhat nostalgic, feel to the ad.
In introducing their new app, Avis Now, with a relatable family moment that viewers found cute, the brand delivers a spot that exceeds the car rental category norm of every component measure. To demonstrate the consistency of Avis’ new campaign, we also looked at viewer response to “Jet Setter,” which features a businesswoman who uses the new app in-flight. This also received impressive scores, with an overall score 13% above the category norm year-to-date (vs. 16% for “Travel Partner.”) The Ad Personalities below show that both ads were powered by Information and Change, which indicates viewers feel the brand is doing something innovative. Though mobile apps are no longer considered particularly innovative, Avis’ new app is revolutionary in that it is designed to handle the entire rental process end-to-end.
Avis “Travel Partner,” Avis “Jet Setter”