The Hertz Corporation unveiled this week a global, multi-faceted branding initiative designed to cultivate a dialogue with customers by focusing on customers' driving experiences. Built around the question "Are You The Gas or The Brake," -- focusing on the universal element of how people operate as either the Gas (more aggressive, exciting, adventurous) or the Brake (conservative, reserved, more of a planner) -- the campaign acknowledges the wide range of "travel personalities" and serves as a platform to address the different wants, needs and aspirations of customers. Hertz will use the platform to illustrate the flexibility provided by its products and services and its ability to fulfill a variety of travel preferences. The campaign debuts this week, with the launch of a "Getaway Giveaway" sweepstakes and contest, a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, and an online consumer engagement platform. The first television ads are scheduled to appear on May 4.


Whether you're The Gas or The Brake, Hertz's Horatio is here to help make car rental and the journey more enjoyable.

"This campaign is about the customer and how Hertz aligns with their lifestyles and travel preferences," said Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Hertz Corporation. "With state-of-the-art technology, best-in-class fleet of cars, unrivaled ease-of-use, convenient locations, and exceptional customer service, Hertz understands each customer is different, some of us are the Gas and some are the Brake, and offers flexible solutions to meet the variety of different travel and transportation needs."

"Giveaway Getaway" Consumer Contest

As part of the new brand campaign, Hertz is offering fun, unique incentives around "Gas and Brake," including the Hertz "Getaway Giveaway" promotion. Visitors to can register to win one of 100 free weekend rentals and be entered to win the grand prize of a new Chevy Camaro SS. The Chevy Camaro SS is available for rent at select Hertz locations as part of the Adrenaline CollectionTM, a brand-new collection of high-performance muscle cars with designs and colors reminiscent of classic muscle cars.

"Hertz's Gas and Brake campaign is creating a dialogue with customers that is unique for our brand," continued Frissora. "The integrated campaign, designed to activate customers by utilizing television, digital and social media platforms, was developed to break through the clutter, capitalizing upon the various mediums customers use to consume information; get people's attention; and be relevant and entertaining. Gas and Brake highlights Hertz's ability to let people journey the way they want, wherever they want to go, while creating a discussion about the Gas and the Brake that takes place on a very personal level."

Advertising Puts a New Spin on Situational (Travel) Drama

The central element of the new branding initiative is a fully integrated marketing campaign created by Omnicom Group's DDB and WPP's G2. The creative personifies "The Gas" and "The Brake" in a fun, lighthearted manner and showcases Hertz's products and services that align with the contemporary lifestyles of the campaign's target audiences. As part of the creative, Hertz will introduce an animated mascot named "Horatio." Brought to life by actor Owen Wilson, Horatio serves as the voice of the company and reinforces that Hertz -- at the airport and in the neighborhood -- allows people to journey the way they want.

The television spots mark the first major brand commercials shot by episodic television director, Tucker Gates ("The Office," "Parks and Recreation," and "Weeds") and features comedic actors Owen Wilson ("Cars 2," "Little Fockers," and "Wedding Crashers") as the voice of Horatio; Rebecca Corry (guest star on "King of Queens," finalist on "Last Comic Standing 4"); and Deren Gilly (appearances in comedic web series "Men for Hire," featured role on "All My Children").

"Hertz's Gas and Brake Campaign was an exciting entry into creating commercials for a major brand," commented director Tucker Gates. "My goal was to build an entertaining chemistry and dynamic on screen that causes viewers to immediately identify with the world of The Gas and The Brake ... no matter if they are planners or if they prefer to fly by the seat of their pants."

The multi-million dollar campaign begins this week and will appear across broadcast and cable television, national newspapers, and online. The television ads, both :30 and :60 spots, will run on appointment viewing programming that includes top-rated network and cable shows like "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," and "Glee," in addition to high visibility sports and events programming.

New Digital Platforms Engage With Consumers

Additionally, Hertz has introduced a Gas and Brake campaign microsite,, created by G2, to engage with consumers and stimulate conversation around the Gas and Brake theme. Features include:

  • The Gas or Brake Quiz, where visitors answer a series of short questions to determine if they are the "Gas" or the "Brake"
  • The Decider Game, where visitors pick the "Gas" or the "Brake" among their Facebook friends
  • Gas and Brake TV, where visitors can view the TV commercials and other campaign videos

Integrating Gas and Brake Into the Hertz Customer Experience

Beyond advertising and promotions, Hertz is integrating the core concept behind "Gas and Brake" throughout the organization, including newly refined collections -- The Adrenaline, Green Traveler and Prestige Collections, a newly refreshed design, and as part of Hertz facility updates. The campaign will continue throughout 2011 as Hertz rolls out further enhancements and new extensions to allow customers to take control over their rental experience and journey.

To view the commercial, click here.