National Car Rental takes comic route with campaign

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Actor Patrick Warburton stars in a new series of ads from National Car Rental.
Actor Patrick Warburton stars in a new series of ads from National Car Rental.

Its new ads for "control enthusiasts" feature Patrick Warburton of "Seinfeld" fame

ST. LOUIS — National Car Rental has launched a new phase of its Go Like A Pro campaign to show "control enthusiasts" how the brand can help them take charge while traveling.

To bring the control theme to life, National is working with comedian and actor Patrick Warburton, most known for his role on Seinfeld from 1995 to 1998 as David Puddy, Elaine’s boyfriend. Warburton is featured in National’s new ads – the first of which will air on TV this Sunday during NFL games – as a "control enthusiast," or business traveler who likes things to go as planned.

"There are so many things we can’t control [when we travel], and National uniquely puts the choice of the car and the control of the rental car experience in the hands of our customers," explained Meghan Maguire, brand publicity manager at National Car Rental.

National is introducing this phase of the campaign to ensure the effort does not plateau, Maguire said. The idea came from the fact that the element of control resonates well with members of its Emerald Club frequent renter program, she added.

In addition to commercials, National has created a series of humorous how-to videos with Warburton called "A Control Enthusiast’s Guide to Life," which will be featured on the brand’s social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The three videos, one of which is holiday-themed, will begin rolling out online in mid-December, said Maguire.

The brand will continue building buzz around the campaign by holding a Twitter chat with Warburton in January or February, where consumers can interact with him directly and ask questions.

National signed a two-year agreement with Warburton, but Maguire said the initiative has no end date at the moment because it is dependent on its success.

National will also work with a number of blogger partners in late January or early February to amplify the advertising campaign, upcoming digital shorts, and the theme of control enthusiasts.

FleishmanHillard, National’s PR agency partner, has "been key in helping us put together our communications to media and reporters," said Maguire.

Go Like a Pro initially kicked off in 2011 with the aim of showcasing National’s expertise in the car rental and travel space to consumers, or "road warriors."

Enterprise Holdings, which owns National Car Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent A Car, was ranked the largest car rental company in the US in 2013, with nearly 980,000 cars rented and estimated revenue of $11.9 million.

This story first appeared on prweek.com.

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