We're #18. We Try Harder
By Lois K. Geller
Do you remember the Avis No. 2 campaign? "We're #2, We Try Harder." It was brilliant. Hertz's reaction also was brilliant. In an article I read a few years ago, Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer of advertising agency TBWAWorldwide, recalled that the president of No. 1 Hertz told his ad agency something like this: "I don't want us to talk about efficiency, clean cars, price, anything like that. The competition can duplicate all those things tomorrow. What I want our advertising to do is to make people like us."
Make people like you. What a concept. By the way, Hertz stayed No. 1.
I figure Mason & Geller is probably the 18th biggest direct marketing agency—so we have to try harder.
I thought about this when I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal titled "Marketers Shop For Fresh Creativity: Ad clients tap smaller, cheaper agencies for ideas in a competitive market." The story focused on Sun Microsystems. It's not happy with its big agency, and executives started asking smaller agencies for new, fresh ideas.
I love the idea of big companies going to smaller agencies. It underscores a challenge I've noticed for years: Many agencies take clients for granted, put junior people on the accounts and don't give clients their best thinking.
This happens in other big companies, too. For instance, I'm writing this column on a Delta ComAir flight. The flight attendant is unfriendly, and she was just flat-out rude to the woman sitting behind me. It's a shame. Most of the time, Delta is pretty good. It got me to Russia and back, and the people were great. A few weeks ago, it helped me get home three hours earlier than my scheduled flight. But customers forget all the good stuff when they run into the bad stuff.