Let Zipcar Put You in the Driver's Seat?


"Let Hertz Put YOU in the Driver's seat...TODAY!"

Yes, the photo above shows a happy couple plummeting to Earth, moments before crashing into a driverless convertible careening down an open highway.

Not to worry, though. The Hertz Rent-a-Car Company, in this early 1960's series of TV ads, was just using prehistoric special effects to drive home the point that they could "put you in the driver's seat."

And these flying people ads got a lot of attention.
TV viewers discussed them over water-coolers and dinner tables. Comedy shows spoofed them, often showing the painful results of renting a hardtop rather than a convertible. Produced some 50 years ago, these commercials were on the primordial edge of viral marketing.

Hertz became so deeply entrenched as the number one car rental company that competitor Avis adopted the tagline -- We're Number 2, We Try Harder.

That Was Then, This is Now
Over the last ten years, Zipcar has reportedly become the world's largest car-sharing service, with a fleet of over 6,000 vehicles and over a quarter of a million zipsters (service members).

For the non-Zipster, Zipcar's tongue-in-cheek very retro -- and very funny -- promo video explains it all.

Where the High-Tech Meets the Road
What sets Zipcar apart from the traditional car-renters is technology. By using tech to put customers more directly in control of the process, Zipcar is to Hertz kind of what Netflix is to Blockbuster.

And Marketing Brillo now reports that a new Zipcar iPhone App will help you sort through available vehicles, reserve one and map your directions to it. This new App will even unlock your zipcar when you find it. Marketing Brillo sees this kind tech integration as the shape of things to come.

Move over Hertz and Avis. Will high-tech make Zipcar the new way to go?