Wednesday, July 8, 2015

National Car Rental

I must admit, I have been intrigued by National Car Rental's Control Enthusiast ads. When National first began running these ads, I didn't get it. As someone who is on the road a lot (a "road warrior") and who rents cars a lot, the ad did not appeal to me at all. It seemed to be targeted at salespeople, salespeople who wanted to feel as if they were the masters of their own destinies. 

To me, two things are interesting about these ads: (1) they focus on a basic psychological need - control and (2) they are so overt about it, even more recently, in a humorous way. This reminds me a little bit of the HUMMER ads that ran for a short time. They seemed to be focusing on HUMMER as a solution for men who were unsure of their own masculinity. It gave them the confidence they needed. I couldn't tell if the ads were a spoof on the commonly repeated joke about HUMMER owners or whether they were real ads targeted at that audience. If it was the latter, the ads "spilled the beans" on the deep consumer need delivered by the brand, presumably making the brand less appealing to that segment. 

As I was not involved in the development of either ad campaign or the consumer insights that led to them, all I can say is that it is interesting to me to see brands focusing on deep psychological needs rather than functional benefits, especially in such a humorous way.

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