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Auto company gives free rentals in exchange for befriending the elderly in Norway
Avis has partnered with the Norwegian Organisation of Volunteers to offer free car rentals on Sundays to anyone who brings along an elderly passenger. Søndagsturer (The Sunday Drive), was led by newly established Norwegian PR company Good Morning.
Sunday Rides solves two problems. Firstly, the Norwegian winter is long, cold and dark, making it especially difficult for elderly people. Secondly, in the town of Harstad, no cars were being rented from the Avis dealership at weekends.
Customers can be linked up to elderly people through a volunteer centre, or bring along someone who they know who is lonely. Participants will be given use of one of the nicer cars in the lot.
In the weeks following the launch, the initiative received a lot of attention from local media – especially when the mayor of the town became a Sunday driver. As a result, many local businesses expressed their support for the campaign and offered special offers for participants
‘In a time where we speak too much about retargeting, programmatics and algorithms, it is liberating to create a concept that speaks to the heart of people and is share worthy enough in itself,’ said Markus Lind, creative director of Good Morning. ‘We have not spent a single penny on advertising.’
In addition to the positive impact on its brand image, the Avis centres involved in the scheme saw a 50% increase in regular renters.
Contagious Insight /
Something for something / Recent research by UK ad agency trade body IPA, found that companies could expect to see a drop in brand loyalty if they lowered their prices too often. The research found that the number of loyal Tesco shoppers dropped by 1% as the number of in-store promotions increased. Although the number seems small, the impact on units sold is significant. This implies that consumers are not necessarily always attracted to the idea of getting something for nothing. The Sunday Drive campaign does the opposite, giving consumers a free ride in a rental car only if they have made the effort to connect with a lonely person.
Problem solver / Not only does this initiative give elderly people companionship during the winter months – as well as a mode of transportation that they would normally not have access too – it also prevents Avis’ unused rental cars stagnating. This is a smart move by Avis. Although there’s no guarantee of making any money, the company has benefitted from a boost to its brand image.
Visiting elderly relatives is something many people feel they should do, especially during winter. By giving people a bit of extra motivation and providing them with transport, Avis makes it possible for them to fulfill this obligation – and gives Avis access to a large group of potential regular customers. Plus, doing something good is often followed by talking about it on social media, making this campaign a very shareable one. This aspect of it is reinforced by Good Morning claiming to have spent no money on advertising.
Polite introduction / Avis is essentially giving out test drives, allowing consumers to familiarise themselves with the service. When a Chevrolet dealership in Brazil organised a similar scheme, letting drivers of broken down cars test drive their vehicles to their intended location, 20% went on to choose a Chevrolet for their next vehicle.