Patrick Strewart

There are times when we just have to wonder if a single advertising executive (or team) simply recycled the same ideas across multiple firms within related industries. Consider if you will these coincidences between defunct auto nameplate Pontiac, National Car Rental, and actor Patrick Stewart.

Many of us remember the early 1980s "We Build Excitement, Pontiac" commercials, although the advertising jingle was a little more painful than we remembered:

Combine Styx, Chicago, and a choir and this is what you get.

A few years later, Pontiac broke out Patrick Stewart as the unseen but easily recognizable voiceover artist for their commercials, with a much more sedate "We Build Excitement" at the end.

The poor steering wheel looks like a Jitterbug phone!

What was National's take?

Obviously, National couldn't build excitement because rental car companies aren't manufacturers. However, the company does rent cars and I recently came across this 2002 trademark filing, where National admitted to using the wordmark "We Rent Excitement" starting in January 1998:

This wordmark was officially discontinued before 2009.

And a few years later? The obligatory commercial with Patrick Stewart as the unseen voiceover artist!

Was that a Pontiac Grand Prix on the Emerald Aisle? 

Given these parallels, we hope National's parent Enterprise Holdings doesn't force the company to follow Pontiac into automotive history a dozen years from now!


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