online marketing psychology

May 30, 2011

How To Become The Underdog

Avis Is Only No. 2, We Try Harder
Avis used this slogan to beat the top dog of car rentals in the 60s, Hertz.

In one of advertising's legendary campaigns they admitted being second, but showed their determination to become number one.

This underdog position did a lot of good for them. Employees were really trying harder. And clients were convinced that Avis really tried to give them the best service possible.

The company managed to change the conversation from being second after Hertz, to their quest of becoming the number one car rental company. 

You can't show how much less number two you have become. But you can show how much closer you are to number one.

And because of the campaign's success, they forced Hertz into a defensive position.

brand positioning avis hertz bkcp bank

Today the Belgian bank BKCP is trying to do something similar with their slogan: Luckily not the biggest (In Dutch: Gelukkig niet de grootste)

Like the rest of the world, big Belgian banks have taken a beating these last couple of years. Now this small bank is positioning themselves as the alternative to the big (bad) ones.

But unlike the Avis slogan, the premise is wrong. Being smaller doesn't automatically mean doing better business.

So how do they show that not being the biggest is better?

Their billboard ads and website say that you can challenge them to do things that other banks can't. 

They are trying to make me do the work to find out why bigger isn't better. But that's not the point of advertising. They should tell me!

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