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Is Avis 'Trying Hard' Enough With New Slogan?

It's the end of an era for the Avis "We Try Harder" tagline.

Source: Avis Rental Cars | CNBC composite

After 50 years, Avis Car Rental is dropping the popular slogan and replacing it with "It's Your Space." A new ad campaign, featuring the catchphrase rolled out this week. Avis' parent is Avis Budget Group .

The tagline was created by Leo Burnett USA's arm in New York, Leo Burnett Business, and is designed to target busy business travelers, according to Advertising Age. "With Avis, it's more than a rental. It's your space," the Avis site says.

But I'm scratching my head.

The television and print ads feature lighthearted situations inside rental cars, where business travelers can do what they want — recharge, sing out loud or be productive. Okay, I get it. But the tagline by itself confuses me.

To me, "We Try Harder" sent a powerful message of customer-focus and meeting the needs of a true road warrior. With such a message, I felt confident in renting a car from Avis knowing they will do everything possible to ensure my specific requirements are satisfied. "It's Your Space" is ambiguous at best, in my mind, and feels generic and uninspired — something I'd easily forget.

Avis auto rental kiosk
Photo: Michael Gray
Avis auto rental kiosk

Avis Brand Evolves

Asked why Avis is moving away from its longtime slogan, Chief Marketing Officer Jeannine Haas told Advertising Age, "Consumer-centric brands must always evolve in order to keep pace with ever-changing customer needs and preferences." Haas added, "Avis is evolving as a premium brand to better meet those needs."

The new tagline, she says is "reflective of [Avis'] ongoing mission to be a customer-led, service-driven company, and presents the brand in terms of the customer experience and the advantages inherent in renting from Avis," according to the article.

Henry Harteveldt, veteran travel industry analyst and co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group, disagrees with Haas. In an email to CNBC.com, Harteveldt says, "'We Try Harder' is a promise. It spoke to the consumer about Avis' commitment to service and value, and as a call to action for the company's employees and franchisees."

"'It's Your Space' sounds like it could be a tagline for a storage facility rental or the 'Container Store.'" He adds, "I give it credit for showing some empathy, but the slogan doesn't speak to travel or renting cars."

Harteveldt further points out the new catchphrase does little to distinguish Avis from its competitors and that Avis' franchisees would have every right to demand the company drop the slogan and campaign.

"The only recent travel-related slogan that was this bad was Delta's 'Good Goes Around,'" Harteveldt concludes.

What do you think? Was this a correct move by a car rental agency in an ever consolidating industry? (More: Hertz to Buy Rival Dollar Thrifty for About $2.3 Billion).

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