Gee Whillickers!

David vs. Goliath

In the story of David and Goliath, the young Hebrew David took on the Philistine giant Goliath and beat him. It is also the story of Southwest Airlines conquering the big carriers, and how the once-unknown Japanese car manufacturers took on Detroit, and the way social media is now taking on the media giants. Sharing stories about how a small organization takes on a big company is great business sport. Rooting for the underdog grabs our emotions, creates meaning and invokes passion. We like to listen to the little guy talk about how he’s going to win and why the world—or the industry—will be a better place for it.

The role of underdog was played successfully by Avis car rental service. When Avis (the number two rental service behind Hertz) used the tagline, “We’re number two; we try harder,” they not only turned being number two into a positive, they also gave their company a likeable, underdog personality. It humanized Avis. It also made them profitable after 13 years of operating in the red!

Finding the right tagline can help define a product or service, make it memorable to the consumer and, hopefully, sell more product. A tagline can also give a company personality.

And to reinforce that personality, every ad Avis created since then evolved from that simple, brilliant tag about better service. Now, over fifty years later, Avis still uses “We try harder.” They dropped the “We’re number two,” perhaps because they now can claim an impressive share of the car rental market.


Inspired Ideas!

ORIGINAL? – 1993
Chambre Syndicale de l’Aluminium
“There is a life after death”
Source: Club des DA

1997 – Hershey’s
Source: Luerzer’s Archive

2002 – Heineken Beer
Source: APPM


Gee Whillickers!

The Spry Onslaught

In 1931, Lever Bros. quietly built a $4-million factory for the production of Spry, a direct competitor to Procter & Gamble’s market-leading shortening, Crisco, which held a 58 percent market share. Lever Bros. knew it would take a well-timed, carefully thought-out and brilliantly executed marketing plan to unseat Crisco’s dominant market position. So, they planned and waited.

Intensive market research into the needs and wants of housewives already using Crisco resulted in Lever Bros. developing a product with improved consistency and shelf life. Since shortening was the low-cost substitute for butter and lard, Lever Bros. also carefully monitored the market prices of these two staples.

After five years of research and product development, carefully timed with the escalating costs of lard and butter, Lever Bros. rolled out its massive assault on the shortening market, providing one-pound cans of Spry door-to-door to one-third of the homes in America!

The free samples also included a 52-page cookbook with Spry recipes and a coupon for 10 cents off on the next purchase. The giveaway was supported by newspaper ads and free local cooking classes conducted throughout the U.S. In one year, Spry had gone from an unknown product to achieve half the market share of Crisco, with sales of $12 million.