Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Avis Analysis -- part 2

Continuing our look at Avis' hits and near-misses during the seminal years of its "We Try Harder" campaign.

Today, we look at an ad whose effectiveness comes from its blunt acknowledgment of who holds the power in their relationship with customers:


"We need you, you don't need us."  That's pretty much true of most businesses in the post-WWII era, but -- like admitting you're not the industry leader -- most companies would be loathe to say it in public.  But even now, reading it some 28 years later, you can feel a surge of empathy for Avis, don't you?  

Interestingly, the pointing finger visual and the first sentence -- "Avis Needs You." -- brings to mind James Montgomery Flagg's famous World War 2-era recruiting poster:


Intentionally or not,  for the generation that responded to this poster, Avis' ad could have evoked the same call to duty, if only on a subtle level.  And speaking of patriotism and subtley, what are we to make of the fingers in the campaign's initial 1963 ad:


Two fingers for number two, of course. But I see something else, too.  More WWII imagery -- Winston Churchill's "V for Victory" gesture.   Another coincidence?  

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