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MSQ Partners

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Integrated marketing

MSQ was appointed in early 2017 as Hertz’s lead European comms and content agency with a remit to co-ordinate its comms activity across its major European markets including UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Benelux, ensuring overall consistency in comms platform and developing overall pan-European campaigns as well as tailored campaigns for individual markets. 

Challenge

Despite its long heritage and leading market position, in Europe, the Hertz offer and brand had become undifferentiated and the hire experience was not living up to the premium positioning (and associated price point).

Across the category, customers have been growing increasingly frustrated by the time and hassle involved in the rental experience – long (often multiple) queues, over-engineered paperwork – and Hertz’s experience was no different.  Despite the premium positioning, there were no clearly articulated benefits in the service being offered by Hertz, relative to its more mass-market sister companies – Dollar and Thrifty – let alone from other closer premium competitors, such as Avis.

And alongside this, Hertz had decided that it could no longer spend its way to success above the line, and thus challenged MSQ to come up with a strategy and creative platform that maximised owned and earned media channels first (rather than relying solely on paid support).

Solution

We needed a comms platform which not only helped articulate the real, underlying benefits of choosing Hertz over other potential rental companies, but also helped communicate that Hertz truly understood its customers – and their aspirations and concerns. More generally, we needed to find ways to get people engaging with Hertz in a positive way (all without a radical overhaul of the brand or the rental experience).

This led us to the positioning of ‘Reasons to Hertz’ – and the idea of identifying specific benefits or positive stories associated with the Hertz experience and turning them into ‘snackable’ pieces of content that would charm, inform and drive positive engagement amongst our audience. The platform also had the flexibility to extend into multiple future campaigns and extend across channels and markets in a simple manner.

The activation began with some simple GIFs that communicated 25 individual Reasons to Hertz.

And was then built upon with follow-up campaign activity.

The first campaign we launched was Stop Before You Get There. In line with the Reasons to Hertz positioning, we highlighted the benefits of ‘gaining time’ through Hertz’s online check and counter skip approach and how this ‘time’ could be redeployed in a holiday enriching experience – such as a visit to a secret cliff-top restaurant or an untouched beach en route.

As part of the campaign, we also created an interactive route planner that integrated with Google Maps, Directions and Places APIs. This route planner found the halfway point of our customers’ next trip and highlighted the perfect stop offs along the way - from high-end restaurants to family friendly zoos.

Results

While it is still early days in our relationship with Hertz, we are already starting to see encouraging results. Reasons to Hertz GIFs had 15 times more engagement on Hertz UK Facebook than previous activity and The Colouring In Car generated an AVE of £210,663.936 (relative to a total campaign spend of £47,030). More generally, our activity has contributed to Hertz International recently delivery a 7% year on year sales increase, with no ATL spend in 2017 in Europe.

Hertz Colouring In Car Campaign from MSQ Partners on Vimeo.
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