• Laura Bennett

It IS what you say … a really bad example of brand speak. Or in this case brand non-speak.

“We Try Harder” is now in the past tense for rental car company Avis.

Sometimes the best examples are of what not to do – so fellow marketers I offer you this example and challenge all of us to review what we say as well as how we say it, when we say it and most importantly why we say it.

Take a look at the response the Avis spokesperson gave when asked about the new tagline they say will target business travelers:

It’s Your Space”. . .

Avis’ Chief Marketing Officer, who has been in the job for about a year, defended the decision to drop one of the most successful taglines in history by saying the new tag is “reflective of [Avis’] ongoing mission to be a customer-led, service-driven company and presents the brand in terms of the customer experience.” (Advertising Age reported)

Huh? That quote really says nothing at all. This spokesperson could be talking about any product or service on the planet and was a missed opportunity for Avis. Not only lacking substance, it lacked emotion, energy, confidence or any of the important elements of a brand, especially one that wants to connect with the customer.

Of course the proof is in the profit and it will be telling to see if this new tagline can even come close to the success of “We Try Harder”. That slogan, when it was introduced in 1962 is credited with making a difference as Avis went from being a losing company to turning a profit; in just one year.

Why? Because it filled in the gap missing for us consumers – does anyone care? Avis tapped into that emotion and responded with yes we care, and furthermore, “We Try Harder”. They lived up to it too with employee training that demonstrated the new motto.

A leading advertising agency, full of smart people is responsible for this new slogan and the wide-reaching campaign that launches on TV and online. I wish them well and will be one of many on the sidelines watching it unfold.

Side note: As we go through this presidential election year, I yearn for any candidate of any party to learn from the old Avis and realize we all still just want to know you care, about us.

Ask yourself – does your brand speak to its customer? If not feel free to change your tagline, slogan, ad campaign, colors whatever it takes to really, truly connect. Yes it is about trying harder.


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