Budget Opts For Self Parody

NEW YORK–Cliff Freeman and Partners on Monday breaks provocative TV spots on national cable stations for Budget Rent a Car that are in the same spirit as the violent, yet darkly amusing 1999 work.

Just as in previous spots, the two new 30-second commercials open with scenes of the Budget marketing team brainstorming about special offers for rental cars. In a pitch for its Perfect Drive loyalty points program, one exec suggests that after four rentals, customers receive spa treatments.

As they all fantasize what that would be like, the scene cuts to a woman in a health club who is approached by a muscular, male trainer. “Today we’re going to work on glutes,” he tells her and then appears to strain his muscles. Reaching behind him, presumably from his “glutes,” he then offers her a cracked walnut. Cut back to the marketing team, which grimaces in disgust, deciding against the offer.

In the other spot, the team wonders how to inform customers about its $39.99 a day Ford Explorer offer. Someone suggests a chain letter. Cut away to the team’s fantasy of a man in a suit arriving home and going through his mail. When he sees the chain letter offer and a warning about bad luck if it isn’t continued, he scoffs and crumples the mailing. Suddenly, the lights blink and a chandelier falls from the ceiling, crushing him. Naturally, the Budget marketers decide against the chain letter.

In a statement, Mike Gavelek, Budget’s vp of marketing, said, “This campaign has, without question, exceeded our expectations. Because of the tremendous consumer and industry response, we decided to build on this creative theme and develop additional television and radio spots within its framework.”

The spots can be viewed at www.Budget.com.