Remember when ... Hertz offered to put customers in the driver's seat? As a long-form commercial, market-dominant (at the time) Hertz spent enough to air a minute-long ad in the mid-1960's. And in one commercial, the ad agency loses track of storytelling, creates multiple hazards, contributes to the long-term debt of the populace, and breaks out some horrendous special effects. It's an impressive example of the lifestyle choices of the 1960s.
That's a catchy little jingle.
There's so much going on that we'll just go through the commercial from start to finish. Notice that the first 20 seconds of the minute-long commercial is based on a commercial fishing vessel rather than an actual rental car? Hertz was clearly number one at the time, so showing cars was a secondary concern. And Hertz allows renters to "do things they've never done before", such as absentmindedly driving into a krewe marching in New Orleans.
And then there's the "egads" moment. The target demographic for this commercial would have been those born between 1928 and 1945. That generation -- the silent generation -- still has consumer debt today, 53 years later. Yet Hertz was offering a 20-month finance plan for a rental car! We don't always agree with Dave Ramsey but if a driver needs a 20-month finance plan for a rental car transaction, we would recommend deferring the vacation ...
But wait, there's more. Quite frankly, I still have rare nightmares about falling from a great height. In Hertz's worldview, it's perfectly cool to imagine a car already underway while a couple gently falls into the driver's seat. While the lady has to hold her hat during the descent, the gentleman's hat and the lady's dress are both fine. While there's a lot of talk about autonomous vehicles today, the futurists at Hertz imagined the idea more than five decades ago. We can't help but wonder if the company also imagined going from number one in rental cars to a distant third ...
Then there's the pièce de résistance. That's not just any car the couple's falling into. That's Straight Outta Compton and something Eazy-E would have recognized, maybe even restored. It's always been stylish to "pull up in the '64 Impala".
And that catchy little jingle? We wouldn't mind seeing Hertz resurrect the campaign for nostalgia's sake. "Let Hertz Put You In the Driver's Seat" was first used in 1959 and unlike most historic rental car slogans, Hertz still maintains an active U.S. Trademark.
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