Did you have any siblings while growing up? I had two older brothers.
One thing I find consistent with siblings, at least brothers, is retaliation.
If my brother hit me, I was gonna get em’ back. Right or wrong, it was gonna happen.
Today’s ad is the marketing form of retaliation. Last week I shared Avis’ shot at Hertz (read here: https://world.hey.com/jordano/why-honesty-wins-in-marketing-ttab-08-37356ef4). This week I share Hertz’s response to this jab and breakdown why I think Carl Ally (the adman for this piece) did a fantastic job.
Instead of focusing on the long copy, I think analyzing the second page will bring more dividends. Here is the second page of the ad:
Finding #1: Short copy does not always win.
If you’ve been following these breakdowns, you’ll notice a consistent theme: Short copy is good copy. But not always.
Sometimes, the long and rhythmic copy is better. This is because it engages the reader differently than short copy. It uses commas rather than periods. This lets the flow continue, like a stream, to the end, where hopefully, there is a punch.
The punch is “...what would you say in your advertising?”
Finding #2: End the sentence with the thought you will develop in the following sentence or paragraph
“...what would you say in your advertising?” ends the first sentence and leads directly to the next: “Right. Your ashtrays are cleaner.”
If you remember from last week’s breakdown, Avis brags about having clean ashtrays. So here, Hertz is saying, “If you’re in second place, and have half the cars... you would brag about having cleaner ashtrays.”
Ending the first sentence with the thought developed in the next gracefully leads the reader through the copy—truly brilliant writing.
Finding #3: Switch up your writing cadence.
The first sentence is 45 words. The next sentence? One word. And then four words.
Changing the cadence makes your writing more engaging and enjoyable to read.
Don’t write all your sentences with only a few words, like the LinkedIn Gods. Or write 15-word sentences as your English teacher taught you. Changing it up will improve how your reader reads your copy. Helping them get to the end, which is our goal when writing, write?
While I won’t advocate going at your competition, as Hertz does here, I will say it’s well done. And as Carl himself said,
“The real trick is figuring out what the substance of an ad should be, and then in handling that substance in the best way possible.”
The substance for this ad was attacking Avis’ claim that they try harder–thus are better–and Carl and his team do this well.
It may not be a suitable substance for many use cases (i.e., Pepsi vs. Coke), but that’s not the matter at hand.
What do you think? Is Hertz’s rebuttal well done?
Who wins: Avis or Hertz (in terms of ads)?
Find out my answer by replying with yours 😉
🧠 + ❤️ // JO