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.

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Stumbled Upon: History of Science Fiction

I love all sorts of literature, but sci-fi/fantasy holds a special place in my heart– and apparently I’m not the only one. Artist Ward Shelley has put together a lovely and elaborate Mapped History of Science Fiction. Including films and books alike, the complexity of the map displays the devotion of a true fan. While I’ve included the picture below, an enlarged photo is necessary to get the full effect. Just something I stumbled upon and thought I would share– Enjoy!

Oh, Sugar! [High Fructose Corn Syrup gets an Image Makeover]

High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The name itself strikes fear into the hearts of mothers around the country. Even the First Lady Michelle Obama has publicly admitted to not wanting her own children eating it.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is associated with a number of negative impressions. Conflicting reports tell us that the ingredient is carcinogenic one day, healthy the next. One account says it’s a leading cause of obesity while the next says it’s no worse than any other forms of sugar. The conflicting communications have led to cognitive dissonance in the general population. We’re not sure what to believe, what to trust.

To remedy the negative perception of high fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Association has asked the federal government for permission to officially change the ingredient’s name to “Corn Sugar.”

The image “makeover” campaign has kicked off, with the introduction of CornSugar.com, a community where curious consumers can learn more about the “real” High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The website proclaims:

There is a lot of information available online about high fructose corn syrup, and along with it, a lot of misinformation. We want to make sure that consumers have access to credible research and science-based information in order to make informed decisions about added sugars in the diet, including high fructose corn syrup or corn sugar.

The website includes testimonials from groups and individuals such as the FDA, Informational Food Information Council, a Mayo Clinic Nutritionist, and other experts in the fields of health and food. These endorsements lend a much-needed source credibility to a subject that remains confusing for many consumers.

So will it work? Previous product renaming has worked in the past.

  • Successful? In 1988, low eurcic acid rapeseed oil became what we know today as “canola oil”
  • Unsuccessful? In 2000, Prunes decided to ditch their dull name for “dried plums”

With a strong public campaign, High Fructose Corn Syrup might just become the more linguistically pleasing Corn Sugar. Steering clear of the past associations with obesity, diabetes, and various forms of cancer, Corn Sugar will focus on its healthy and natural connections.

The website includes frequently asked questions, plain facts, and even a video gallery showcasing the campaign’s television commercials.  Contact information for further questions and concerns is also available.

Further Reading & References:

http://healthland.time.com/2010/09/14/high-fructose-corn-syrup-might-get-a-makeover/

www.CornSugar.com