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Avis Quits Trying


The "Avis: We-Try-Harder" campaign has identified the brand for fifty years in a category with no other indelible advertising identity. 

Now a new CMO at Avis, Jeannine Haas, has killed it. She has begun a new Avis campaign with a slogan, “It’s your space.” She said, "Consumer-centric brands must always evolve in order to keep pace with ever-changing customer needs and preferences."

That’s just gibberish. Do customers no longer want you to try harder? New commercials show a guy rehearsing a presentation out loud while driving. Another shows co-workers preparing for a meeting in a rental car. Then they say, "Avis is more than a rental. It’s your space."

What can you do in an Avis Chevy that you can’t do in a Hertz Chevy? There is no possible benefit in, “It’s your space.” Swap any competitor name for Avis and the slogan means the same: nothing.

“We try harder” differentiated Avis. You don’t throw away one of the best-known brand slogans in the world. You refresh it. Get out to the system, re-train and give incentives to be sure employees really do try harder. Then make new commercials showing ‘em trying harder.

“It’s your space” means nothing. Zero. It’s just more cute, disposable advertising. It has no linkage to the brand, and is classically forgettable.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com.

My mother introduced me to WKNO-FM and public radio long before I can remember. I suppose the first thing I really recall about WKNO-FM is that every afternoon, when my mother picked me up from school, the radio was tuned-in to The World, then All Things Considered, probably beginning around age 8. The way these reporters and hosts took you from the comfort of your mom's van to wherever in the world they were reporting from absolutely fascinated me. From then on, I was officially hooked.
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