Fallon Prepares Alamo’s TV Return

CHICAGO Alamo Rent A Car introduces two anthropomorphic characters, Al and Mo, to advertise its self-service kiosks via a new campaign from Publicis Groupe’s Fallon.

The spots from the Minneapolis agency, which break on March 19, depict a bison, Mo, and a beaver, Al, using the kiosks in an Alamo office. As the bison expresses anxiety about using the kiosks (“My inner instinct tells me to stay with the herd,” Mo says), the beaver quickly gains access to his car.

“Fight your herd instinct. Skip the line” is the sales message at the end of the spots.

The creative approach was born from the insight that people would stand in line for rental car agents, while the kiosks would remain open.

“When it comes to technology, people are a little nervous to try it for the first time,” said Jerry Dow, chief marketing officer for Alamo parent Vanguard “[With the bison], we chose an animal that had a herding instinct, and a beaver is smart and industrious.”

Vanguard is parent to both the Alamo and National Car Rental chains. While National targets business travelers, Alamo is more family and vacation oriented, Dow said. Highlighting the self-service kiosks, which Dow said were the first in the industry, is a way to appeal to family travelers.

“The single biggest frustration [of rental cars] is waiting in line, especially if you have family,” he said. “The commercials simply say, ‘We have the kiosks. Use them.'”

The spots, which are Alamo’s first TV ads in two years, will air during morning news programs, Dow said. Such programming is “TiVo proof” and often watched by moms who are also the key family vacation planner, he said. “It’s a pretty cost-effective way for reaching a target audience,” he said.

The campaign will also include print and Internet components.

Vanguard, based in Tulsa, Okla., spent nearly $20 million on ads in 2005, when it last advertised on TV, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Its outlay dropped drastically in 2006, however, when the company spent just $6 million in measured media.