Monday, August 20, 2007


Through my work I became aware of a funky marketing strategy called “Secondary Positioning.”

A familiar example of secondary positioning is the Avis rent-a-car campaign, “We’re number 2, we try harder.”

Hertz' primary position in its market was unassailable. While all car rental companies might wish to be number 1, Avis saw the value of seizing the second position.

It’s like a word-association game.

Q. Name a rental car company.
A. Hertz.

Q. Name another rental car company.
A. Avis.
Here’s a website celebrating the 40th anniversary of the We Try Harder slogan, which is still in use today.

The idea is that if for some reason Hertz is not available, or if someone is looking for a change, or if someone has a bad Hertz experience, Avis is there for you, and they WILL try harder.

Another easy example was the 7-Up “Un-cola” campaign. The position 7-Up was seeking was THE Un-Cola. When you get tired of cola beverages...

In San Francisco’s current mayor’s race, Tony Hall has undisputed (by this blog) possession of the secondary position.

Q. Name the next mayor of San Francisco.
A. Gavin Newsom.

Q. Name another candidate.
A. Tony Hall.
If this were a horse race there would be only three entrants to bet on: Newsom, Hall, and the field.

Newsom has a commanding lead over Hall. More importantly for this analysis, Hall has a commanding lead over the field.

This is relevant only because it’s impossible to predict the future.

Short of some major unforeseen event, Newsom will be re-elected. But what happens in the event of an unforeseen event?

What if Newsom gets struck by lightening and dies two weeks before the election? I’d say, “Mayor Tony Hall.”

Or gets hit by a bus.

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janinsanfran said...

Horrible idea. :-)

sfwillie said...

Dear Jan,

There were many horrible ideas in this post:
- a human being hit by lightening
- a human being hit by a bus
- Gavin Newsom re-elected
- Mayor Tony Hall.

To which horrible idea do you refer? :)

Anonymous said...

i never ceased to be impressed at your innovative imagination in presenting your points of view, unlike mine which never seem to end. rs

Anonymous said...

Ewe. Stop being nasty and stick to the issues.