After 50 years of “We try harder,” AVIS Car Rental has announced that it will replace that slogan with a new one, “It’s your space.” When introduced, “We try harder” was lauded as a brilliant counterpoint to Hertz’s #1 position in the car rental industry. It was a strong brand promise that played off the belief that the #2 car rental company would work harder on a customer’s behalf.
I am a big believer in taglines. They are an effective way to communicate the brand’s “unique value proposition” powerfully, succinctly and memorably. It is very difficult to create the perfect tagline, however, because of all of the objectives that it must accomplish:
In definitive global research, The Conference Board has found the development and consistent use of a tagline to be a key factor in brand strategy success.
Any successful brand is successful by standing for something in the mind. Changing what you stand for is almost impossible unless you don’t stand for anything at all. In other words, a brand that is nowhere in the mind is a brand that can be changed. A brand that stands for something in the mind is a brand that is forever locked into its position.
The jingle had no definitive debut: its infiltration of the radio was more of an evolutionary process than a sudden innovation. Product advertisements with a musical tilt can be traced back to 1923, around the same time commercial radio came to the public. However, if one entity has the best claim to the first jingle it’s General Mills, who aired the world’s first singing commercial. The seminal radio bite, entitled "Have You Tried Wheaties?", was first released on the Christmas Eve of 1926. It featured four male singers, who were eventually christened "The Wheaties Quartet", singing the following lines:
Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.
While the lyrics may appear hokey to modern day society, the advertisement was an absolute sensation to consumers at the time. In fact, it was such a success that it served to save the otherwise failing brand of cereal. In 1929, General Mills was seriously considering dropping Wheaties on the basis of poor sales. However, advertising manager Sam Gale pointed out that an astounding 30,000 of the 53,000 cases of cereal that General Mills sold were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the only location where “Have You Tried Wheaties?” was being aired at the time. Encouraged by the incredible results of this new method of advertising, General Mills changed tactics entirely. Instead of dropping the cereal, it purchased nationwide commercial time for the advertisement. The resultant climb in sales single-handedly saved the now über-popular cereal.
Sources: Ask the Expert, General Mills
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