"We Try Harder" (1962) - Paula Green, Copywriter
"We presented a company that was willing to work for you.
It was sort of like tacking up the manifesto on the door."
— Paula Green
Paula Green’s line “We try harder” is still used by the brand today. This year we
teamed up with Paula and Avis to re-imagine her ground-breaking work for the web.
The Original Ad
When Paula Green created Avis’ “We try harder” campaign with art director Helmut Krone, it was a triumphant success.
More than a catchy advertising slogan, Avis adopted the phrase as the
company’s manifesto. In just four years, the rent-a-car company had
overhauled every facet of their business, resulting in a market share
increase from 11% to 34%. With just three words, Avis had set a new
standard for rental car companies around the world. A testament to
Paula’s vision, half a century later, ‘We Try Harder’ remains the
company’s tag line.
Originally from Hollywood, Paula worked as a secretary at Fawcett Publications before embarking on what became a formidable career at Doyle Dane Bernbach. Working with art director Helmut Krone, she created a campaign for Avis that not only revolutionized the company but the entire rent-a-car industry.
Paula ascended to Creative Vice President of DDB, eventually leaving to start her own agency with her husband. Paula continued creating groundbreaking work for clients such as the ILGWU, New York Times, Goya, Subaru and the American Cancer Society. She has won every major advertising award and was recently inducted into The One Club Hall of Fame. Paula currently lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, enjoying her life as both a mother and grandmother. She is also in the early stages of authoring a book.
The Original Brief
The Re-imagined Work
The Original Brief
Refresh Avis’ image and business by
defining its place in the rent-a-car industry.
The Original Work
“We try harder” demonstrates the benefit in choosing a ‘No. 2 company’. When you’re a challenger brand, you have to constantly try harder for every customer and can’t afford to offer anything less than great customer service.
The Re-imagined Work
The most compelling proof of Avis trying harder are its satisfied customers. In the re-imagined ad, customers write about their personal rental experience with Avis, in natural language, i.e. spoken English. Within a matter of seconds, that story is turned into a personal film, which they can share on the web - all within the ad. No two experiences are the same, and thus no two stories will ever be the same. The ad understands the customer letters, and no matter what their story, they get a personalized video every time.
The New Ad
The re-imagined ads invite customers to write about their rental experiences with
Avis, and turn each letter into a personal animated video which they can share on
the web. These videos are dynamically created within a few seconds, right in the
ad itself. There is no stronger testament to Avis trying harder, than real stories
from real customers who’ve experienced the service for themselves.
Ads That Understand the Customer
The language processing algorithm analyzes each customer’s story, and using a compositing engine it creates a unique video for each one. The ad changes based on the tone of the customer note. For example, if someone complains of bad service, then Avis offers them a chance to address their concern, while a happy customer is encouraged to share their story more broadly on the web.
Every Story is Unique
With millions of Avis customers, the ad has to account for every possible story and item that someone could possibly write about, including names, things, places, etc. The input is analyzed through structured data and story scenarios. With all of the potential combinations of variables accounted for, this ad can produce over 1024 possible videos. So no matter what a customer has to say, there is a unique video for everyone.
Voice clips from a pre-recorded database are stitched together into a single audio track on the fly to narrate each story. Linguistic structures and rules allow audio scripts as well as interwoven animations to come together naturally, providing a seamless sounding video, like one would expect if it were created in a professional editing studio.
Targeting Techniques Are Creative Tools
The content in the ad varies based on the context of website / mobile app, or the interests of the viewer. For example, a business traveler will see opening animations from a similar customer’s story, before they write their own. Similarly, using remarketing, the ad can offer a booking deal to someone who went to Avis' website but didn’t complete a booking, while a user who made a booking is prompted to write about his / her experience.
How The Ad Works
Remarketing enables the unit to be served to users who’ve visited Avis’ website recently and adjust the call-to-action based on whether they rented or not.→
Contextual Ad Serving
The context of the web page or app is used to determine which story should be shown to the user.
Site Specific Ad Serving
Audience signals determine which of the stories to play.
Natural Language Input
The rest of the output is informed by an open-ended 140 character input field for the user to describe their experience in his own words.→
The ad is selected for the user and served to them on mobile, tablet or desktop.→ →
Structured Data Input
The user enters details about himself and his car rental.→
Language Analysis + Data Reference
The user’s story is parsed and analyzed to determine the unique story to tell.→
Composite Logic + Engine
The composite engine combines voiceover and animation segments from a pool of thousands to shape the user’s unique output.→
The user watches his story come to life in a matter of seconds.→
Scenarios with higher levels of potential danger are moderated prior to their being shared.→
Users can share their stories with dynamically-uploaded YouTube videos.→
Select clips are placed in a YouTube gallery for other users to view.