Friday, January 25, 2008

We Try Harder

That's the ad campaign that Avis launched in the early sixties to turn its no. 2 position in the rent-a-car business into a strength:

The results were dramatic…

In 1962, just before the first 'We try harder' ads launched, Avis was an unprofitable company with 11% of the car rental business in the USA. Within a year of launching the campaign Avis was making a profit, and by 1966 Avis had tripled its market share to 35%.

It's the first thing I thought of when I saw that Chinese President Hu Jintao had met with the chairman of Kazakhstan's senate on the latter's state visit to China. Now it's not surprising that China would want to provide a warm welcome to its neighbor, especially its neighbor that ranks eleventh in the world in both gas and oil reserves. But a president giving face time to the visiting senate leader of a "minor country" is almost a breach of diplomatic protocol, and it's the sort of thing that's hard to imagine an American president doing, even though the impact of the gesture is undoubtedly significant.

On a related note, compare the travel itineraries of President Bush, who just made his first visit to the Middle East after seven years as president, to Nicolas Sarkozy, who in less than a year has visited the Middle East, North Africa, China and now India, signing major contracts and nuclear cooperation agreements everywhere he goes, and vastly improving France's strategic position in the process. The president of the United States might very well be the most powerful person on earth, but that shouldn't get in the way of trying hard.

Posted by Judah in:  China   Foreign Policy   La France Politique   

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