Avis and AARP Take a Road Trip with Native Ads

There is a lot of buzz around native advertising in the marketing community. It is popular because the ad experience follows the natural feel and function of a website site. The ad is positioned to look and feel like natural content, so it can behave just like a user’s experience online. With consumers blocking and avoiding traditional ads because they intrude on the reading experience; native has become a valuable solution for leading media companies and brands to engage consumers in a meaningful way. Avis just launched a very interesting campaign that really brings this trend to life. They partnered with AARP as part of their BrandAmp by AARP solution which allows marketing partners an opportunity to to share expertise, thought leadership and insights with their loyal readers. BrandAMP by AARP uses storytelling to collaborate with marketers to create informative and entertaining content for brands that is meaningful to their 50+ audience.

This approach is effective because it ties into AARP’s larger brand platform message which is to redefine what it means to be over 50 today. They are trying to change perceptions among younger people by demonstrating how 50 to 68-year-olds are breaking misconceptions and influencing the market. It is smart marketing at a time when this demographic group holds the vast majority of wealth in the U.S. and accounts for 51% of all consumer goods purchased. And, they have the time to take vacation and explore America by car. As many have noted, being 50 years old is not what 50 was in the 1970s or 80s. In fact, it is fashionable to say 50 is the new 30!

Avis sees 50+ as a lucrative market as they are nearly 70% more likely to rent a car 3+ times in a year for leisure activity. In fact, Avis is the only endorsed AARP car rental partner and members receive significant discounts, up to 30%.

To engage the audience Avis and AARP created a campaign to keep the car rental leader top of mind with members. The programed is called “America’s Favorite Road Trip” and they asked members to vote on their favorite road trip out of 10 drives. Click here to see the results

The poll ran online for two weeks and it was teased in the AARP print magazine opposite an Avis full page ad. The online poll generated over 14,000 votes and created an engaging buy-in for the participants. These are fertile channels to do this type of brand activation as AARP.org has 13 million monthly page views and the Magazine has a circulation of 5 million for the 50–59 version where this ran.

The recently released results had the Pacific Coast Highway as America’s favorite road trip. This announcement was accompanied by a nicely done multimedia treatment that sketched out a road trip from Santa Cruz, through Carmel, Monterrey, Big Sur and ending up in Santa Barbara. The page gave members aspirational and fun videos accompanied by a list of thing to do at every stop.

The tie to Avis is subtle and non-intrusive, and the online experience keeps them top of mind when the 50+ audience is thinking about the romance and adventure of a road trip. At a time when ad blockers are in vogue, marketers have to do more than just run banners to engage their best prospects and customers. This program shows that AARP and Avis understood the audience and instead of trying to “sell” them on renting a car, they chose to entertain and inspire their members to take action.