Re-reading Ogilvy on Advertising at the moment. While new at the time, Avis’s use of positioning helped them make millions. And they took a mix of honesty and good copywriting.
Their agency was Doyle, Dane and Bernbach and their line was:
Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars. So why go with us? We try harder.
The first bit is obviously true. The second bit, perhaps over time it became so. What it does though is make people assume that someone that’s not first won’t be resting on their laurels but maybe the top brand would. We like to support the underdog.
Apple in the early 80s saw the giant threat that IBM was/others say it was conformity was the threat and created the iconic 1984 ad when they launched the Macintosh with the line:
On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.”
Apple were saying they are your tool to smash conformity. A good position. Ironic given their dislike of consumers customising their Apple gear.
I’ve been trying to find a link to it and failed but there was a t-shirt company who when they launched also started creating knock-off versions of their own gear and selling them at markets. The idea was that the fake versions tell people the brand must be big enough/famous enough that they’re now having their stuff faked. Their brand is now positioned with Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike etc. and that feeds in to the “real” brand obviously being on the same ladder as all these other brands. Clever yes, sneaky yes.
Unfortunately in Ireland there’s not a lot of clever positioning. It seems to be about copying someone else and laying in the same arse dent on the sofa as everyone rather than doing your own thing. Still, this means massive opportunities for anyone that wants to take on the status quo.