Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sunday Drivers

The great Christmas-Ads-Who's-Going-To-Boost-Kleenex-Sales-The-Most race has revved up a gear or two with a recent entry from Germany. Like the John Lewis ad, the heartstrings being pulled in the Edeka ad are those guilty ones associated with elderly relatives and neighbours. Is there anything much more heartbreaking than thinking about an old person alone with their turkey leg and tinsel?

But much as these ads may play on our guilt and tickle our tear ducts, I wonder how many viewers will actually do anything to warm up Christmastime for a senior citizen. I always love to see promotions that are 'actions rather than ads' and I've found a great one, called 'Sunday Rides: Together for a brighter winter.' It's a co-operation between Avis and The Norwegian Organisation of Volunteers.

The idea comes from putting two problems together - a business problem (Avis don't have many car rentals at weekends) - and a societal problem (elderly people are lonely because they are housebound, and in the dark Norwegian winter, this is particularly so. So the PR company Good Morning came up with the nifty idea of free car rentals on Sunday (with one of the better models on offer, no less) to anyone who comes along with an elderly passenger. The renter gets to drive a great car for free, the passenger gets to see somewhere they'd never see under their own steam and Avis gets great publicity. And that's just for starters.

I particularly like the quote from Good Morning's Markus Lind about this promotion:
In a time where everyone talks (too much) about retargeting, programmatic and algorithms, it is liberating to create a concept that speaks to the hearts of people and is shareable enough by itself. We have still not used a penny on ad buys. 

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