Monday, September 10

We Try Harder

A pivotal question that I often get from clients and students alike ... "When do you walk away from a marketing campaign and try something new?"

A tough one to answer in a general way, so much of that lies in the specifics of the situation.

But I will say that when your marketing becomes much more about your brand essence and your positioning than just a multi-year campaign, then I'd be very careful about moving away from it.

Which is why I was quite surprised last week to read that Avis is walking away from its renowned tagline, "We Try Harder."

Actually I was more shocked than surprised, only because that line (and all it brings with it) is so closely associated with Avis and its emotional connection that it has with its customers.  Brands would KILL to be able to create it.

But the tagline is 50 years old, created in 1962 and credited with saving the business, which was suffering badly at the time.  That was when the brand was #2 ... now it's a distant player in a very crowded marketplace.  In fact, for years "trying harder" was all about being #2 ... does it still work when you aren't even close to being #2 anymore?  Maybe it's time for a change?

I don't know ... I'm not sure that I would have walked away from it.  Perhaps they could redefine what it means to "try harder" fifty years later, but I don't think I would have killed it.  Refresh it, update it, modernize it via social media and all the new technologies.  But drop it entirely?  "Trying harder" could have a whole new meaning in 2013!

BTW - the brand's Twitter handle is @AvisWeTryHarder.  It's core to the brand!  Maybe they just need to try harder?

What do you think?  Would you drop it ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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