Jordan Ogren

December 16, 2021

Why honesty wins in marketing. <> TTAB 08

Today's Throwback Thursday Ad Breakdown is a classic.

It's a classic for many reasons. But I believe it's lasted the test of time for one main reason:


In today's marketing, honesty is in short supply (i.e., We are the best! We will help you 10X your biz). So let's see what else we can learn from this gem:

Finding #1: Cut right to the chase—Put the important stuff first.

Instead of telling you what they do or sharing their main benefit/feature, they address what you're thinking. If you know Avis is #2 in rent a cars, why choose them?

This also does what every great headline should do: Get your reader to read the body text.

Finding #108.jpg

Finding #2: Write like a human—write as you talk.

The first sentence of the ad copy is three words. And then, after the parenthesis, they continue this short and human-like copy:

"We just can't afford dirty ashtrays. Or half-empty gas tanks. Or worn wipers…."

You could argue they overuse the "Or…." But I think it's human. Most English teachers would fail you for writing like this, which is sad because this ad reads better than most 12th grade English papers.

Finding #208.jpg

Finding #3: Know your customer and write directly to them.

All the points in paragraph 2 speak to things that would piss someone off when renting a car. And they do it poetically, "Or anything less than seat-adjusters that adjust."

They also avoid overgeneralizing and get specific in the following paragraph: 

  • A lively, super-torque Ford
  • A good pastrami sandwich in Duluth

It's almost like they heard you complaining to your partner about the last rent a car that went wrong. (Did someone say, Alexa?)

Finding #308.jpg

Finding #4: Tie the end to the start.

How does Avis close the ad? With a soft-CTA. But by smoothly tying it to the opening point of being No. 2.

Why–again–do they go above and beyond? They can't take you for granted (they value you) because they are No. 2 and don't have the name recognition to win you over, simply by being the No. 1 rent a car. That's what they're saying.

They also use a soft-CTA, "Go with us next time." And then sprinkle in humor, "The line at our counter is shorter."

Finding #408.jpg


Don't you just love humility and honesty? 

Don't tell me you're the best data storage software. Instead, tell me you're the best data storage for quick transfers but not the most extensive storage.

Instead of letting your prospect think of their own objections, tell them upfront.

We may not be No. 1, which means we will work a helluva lot harder for you.

To make friends, and gain new customers, transparency (radical honesty) is the best way.

Avis found that out a long time ago.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO