Hertz says Hi to Horatio

Let’s face it, car rentals are super cool!

Or at least that’s the message Hertz is trying to get across with their latest campaign. Like so many companies before them, Hertz has decided to introduce a mascot in an attempt to spice up their image. Said mascot is named Horatio (see below) and is voiced by Owen Wilson, right on the eve of the release of Wilson’s big movie, Cars 2 (convenient timing). While getting a big name celebrity to help out is pretty awesome, the mascot itself seems a bit one-dimensional and lackluster. Then again, perhaps judgment shouldn’t be passed until we see the little guy in action.

Further adding to the campaigns intrigue is Tucker Gates, the man Hertz has gotten to direct these above mentioned commercials. While his name isn’t household knowledge, the shows on which he has worked certainly are: The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Weeds.

Working with DDB of the Omnicom Group and the digital agency G2 Worldwide, the campaign is estimated at costing over $10 million! Catherine East, account director of DDB, explains the campaigns ultimate objectives as helping to refresh the Hertz image and “help us re-establish ourselves as a cultural brand.”

The target public for this campaign is defined as “20-something-year-olds,” an interesting choice and always a tricky market. While most car companies rent to those only 25 and older, Hertz has recently instituted a policy allowing for those as young as 20-years-old to rent for additional fees.

In association with Horatio, Hertz is introducing two live characters, Brake and Gas, who will also appear in a series of funny tv spots. For more information on both of these extensive campaigns, visit the website or check out the article from The New York Times.

Fun fact: Horatio, the mascot was named after Horatio Nelson Jackson, a physician who was one of the first people to drive a car across the United States.

“Cars n’ Deals”: Pixar works the web

I absolutely love viral movie campaigns, and Pixar has yet to disappoint (see Toy Story 3 social media campaign. No, seriously– click the link and check it out. It’s great!).

The first Cars movie, much like all Pixar movies, received rave reviews and prominently displayed Pixar’s unique ability to simultaneously entertain both children and parents. It’s 5 years later, and expectant audiences are eagerly awaiting the sequels upcoming release.

Trailers have been showing for a while now, promoting the film in the regular way. Pixar, however, is anything but regular. After the success of the Toy Story 3 viral campaign, the company has turned once more to director Chris Cantwell. Together with Pixar, Cantwell has put together faux car advertisement to promote the new Cars film. The video is complete with corny sales pitches, editing gaffes, and cheap-looking production quality. This ‘ad’ makes all those other annoyingly tacky bargain car commercials look award-worthy– and I say that as a great compliment. The video is hilarious and well worth a watch, for Pixar fans or those just looking for a laugh.

Pixar and Cars fan, however, are in for a special treat. Hidden within the video is link to a site where you can watch exclusive footage from the film (hint: 57 second mark). Also, if I’m not mistaken, some of the actual cars seen in video might look a bit familiar to anyone who has seen the trailer…just saying.

Sprinkled throughout the video are also hints to the new movie’s plots. Make sure to watch it more than once to make sure you catch everything. Plus, apparently the phone number they give at the end of the commercial is a working line. I might have to pick up a phone and check this out for myself!

Cars 2 opens June 24, 2011.

P.S. My favorite parts: “Lion of a deal” as he wears a tiger costume and the jingle at the end (“but don’t go too far or you’ll miss it”).