Avis Scraps “We Try Harder” Slogan; Now, Dear Customer, “It’s Your Space”

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Scrapping its iconic slogan of 50 years, “We Try Harder,” Avis has announced that it’s switching to a new tagline: “It’s Your Space.”

Why? Sometimes brands may need to leave well enough alone. And arguably, Avis has been as associated with this particular bit of corporate mission-speak as seamlessly as just about any other brand has managed to fuse its identify with its tagline, such as Nike with “Just Do It” or Walmart back in the day with “Everyday Low Prices.”

But new CMO Jeannine Haas, after delving into research to see how the brand is perceived, has determined that Avis Budget Group needs to position its flagship brand in a more relevant way for a business clientele that continues to evolve.

“Brand marketing to drive profitable growth is one of our strategic growth initiatives,” she stated in a press release. “This campaign is our latest effort in delivering against this key objective.”[more]

To introduce the updated tagline, the brand’s new TV-advertising campaign seeks to “redefine and elevate the role of the rental car in corporate travelers’ busy lives” by centering on “how business professionals use the space inside the rental vehicle to be productive and recharge,” according to the release.

So for example, one ad shows a business person practicing his upcoming presentation by singing the words out loud while driving to the meeting — in his Avis car, of course — and another enjoying that relaxing feeling of getting into the vehicle after a challenging day on the job.

And while not stated by Haas, there’s probably at least one other factor at play behind the switch: The “We Try Harder” message is not only old, it’s dated. Providing genuinely good customer service now is seen as mere table stakes by American consumers, no matter what brand they’re dealing with, no matter what service business they’re encountering. So underscoring its mere efforts to provide such service, not even a guarantee of satisfactory service, can seem a bit pale.

Besides, it’s arguable that another brand in the industry, Enterprise, has blown past its competitors, including Avis Budget, over the last several years and established a clear superiority on the customer-service criterion with car-rental customers.

In any event, Avis just got yet another reason to up its game: Hertz is pushing for new advantages in the still-consolidating car-rental industry by buying Dollar Thrifty, creating an industry gorilla that can field three brands and suddenly commands 37 percent of domestic airport-counter market share.

Avis may have to try harder anyway.

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