Enterprise Launches Olympic Ad Blitz; the Spots Have Little to Do with Car Rentals, Everything to Do with Stirring Emotions

Article excerpt

There is no car wrapped in brown paper in Enterprise Holdings' latest advertising campaign, to run during the Olympics.

Instead, the minute-long commercial begins with a shot of a bride hugging her father while a narrator says, "Thank you: Two little words of appreciation. You can see a thank you in a smile. You can feel it in a handshake. But how does a company say thanks?"

Apparently, Clayton-based Enterprise - the world's largest rental car company - does it by pledging to plant 50 million trees in national forests.

The promise to plant 1 million trees annually for 50 years, in partnership with The Arbor Day Foundation, was made several years ago to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.

A 30-second version of the commercial began running on NBC on Friday, and will continue to air through Aug. 12 during the closing ceremonies. It will also run on NBCOlympics.com ,and the longer version will be available on a Facebook page created for the campaign.

The company, which operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Rental Car, is using its "Thanks to America" commercial spot to tap into the emotions surrounding the Olympic games as viewers connect with athletes' personal stories and celebrate pride in their country, said Jim Stoeppler, the company's brand director.

"We view it as more than just sports," he said.

Company officials would not disclose an exact cost estimate for the campaign but said it was close to $6 million.

Haim Mano, a marketing professor at the University of Missouri- St. Louis, said the commercial was a good move for Enterprise.

"I think it is going to be a very successful ad," he said. "It's creating goodwill for the company."

Many companies over the years including General Electric have come up with these sort of emotional commercials that don't necessarily have anything to do with their products, but generate a good feeling about the company among both current and new customers, he said . …


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