Hertz to celebrate 75 years with ‘Prices’ campaign

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

In 2015, Uber became the first tech company to join the S&P 500, while Airbnb debuted on the NYSE. Hertz , however, wasn’t so lucky — its stock was removed from the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, following the appointment of Ron Nelson as chairman and CEO.

Now, though, Hertz has decided to go all in. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the company — famous for its Hertz Gold Fleet, Dollar and Thrifty brands — has unveiled an extensive marketing campaign for its top-end Prestige option.

Called @HertzPrices, the digital-focused campaign features models shooting portraits of family moments and shots of social-media favorites from their friends and family. The release also coincides with the first-ever advertisements featuring a model without fake tanning, handbags or a group of happy people in the background.

Younes Burlacoff, CMO and president of Hertz, told CNN Travel it’s important to frame the project in a light that is age-appropriate and inspiring.

“Not all of our customers have young kids. And some of our customers don’t even have kids,” he said. “So it has the potential to appeal to all of them and hopefully they’ll appreciate it.”

Visit within 500 meters

A new video advert for Hertz’s Prestige service. Credit: Airbnb

According to Burlacoff, the campaign isn’t just about offering fresh, younger renters a fun alternative. It’s also about shining a light on a crucial piece of Hertz’s legacy — the notion that, by being within 500 meters of your apartment or hotel, you are guaranteed first-class service.

“The move to Prestige has a good relevancy, because what I hear all the time from my customers is ‘If you can’t bring me my car, you can’t get into the service.'”

“You have to show us in the real world that we can be the gold standard. If we cannot do that, we’re not going to survive. We don’t want to chase a marketplace that doesn’t deserve it.”

According to Burlacoff, the project — which includes digital elements, as well as print and TV — is about drawing new, younger consumers in.

“These people who are now coming to us, and are maybe renting on a monthly basis, and they think ‘I have an opportunity to get a new car, I don’t necessarily know whether it’s going to be a car I can afford or not.'”

However, the brand didn’t consider this prospect in its development of Prestige, he said.

“I didn’t want to do a product or service because I knew there’d be no millennials ordering it. I wanted to do it because I knew it was an opportunity to attract customers I had already sold to, but who I knew were not as price sensitive.

“We didn’t know how many millennials there were. That surprised us.”

Avoid the entourage

Being considered a luxury brand isn’t the only aspect of the Prestige campaign that Hertz is trying to distinguish itself from its competition.

Burlacoff believes Airbnb, Air BnB and other niche rival services are a real threat. “Who would have thought that a service offering like Airbnb, having no certain degree of appreciation for property, would have risen up to the level it has?”

“At the same time, our arch rival doesn’t think people have to get in their Escalades.”

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All three of these companies have “abandoned the entourage” for what are essentially residential short-term rentals, he says.

“The idea is that they don’t value (rentals) at all. That they are just using it as a different way to generate income.”

But can Hertz sustain a brand when other competitors are having a difficult time?

“The question is, can we do it? Can we do it for decades and decades? Can we continue to be a premium brand, and at a premium price?”

He concedes that as the market becomes more consolidated, rivals like car-sharing providers are appealing to customers.

But he’s hopeful.

“The validation we’ve gotten with this is that we are still relevant. And we’re still attractive to people in the luxury category.”

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