Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Everything Old is New Again!

When I was listening to the radio in my car on the way home, I heard an AVIS commercial. At the end of the spot, the voiceover (announcer) said “We try harder!”
This is a theme line that made the company number two to Hertz over 40 years ago. Later on, I saw a Citibank commercial on the news and it ended with the line, “The Citi Never Sleeps!” This line may be as old as the AVIS line. I began to wonder why this was happening. Marketers are realizing that time-tested taglines that literally launched products and services just may need to be used again in this topsy-turvy economy. This could be the beginning of a trend.
Of course, some companies never changed their themes. Consider, for example, Allstate, Maxwell House and Campbell’s soup. I bet you can name their theme or taglines. More importantly, however, it does pay to do a little research to see how much “equity” is left in a given tagline before reviving it. Years ago, when Christie Whitman was elected Governor of New Jersey, she wanted her own theme line. This has become the norm. After we created a line that she liked (“What a difference a state makes!”) and ran it for a year, we did some surveys. While the line didn’t do that badly, it did not score as high as a line that was used for several years during the Kean administration. The line was “New Jersey & You. Perfect Together.” It had a 28% recall vs. 20% for the new line. So, we successfully made the argument to bring it back. Within six months of advertising the old line, the recall went to 72%! This rarely happens in our business. Nonetheless, when the new Governor came in, he wanted his own line which today no one can recall.
The point is when a tagline works for you, don’t let go of it too soon. You may regret it.

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