But what's still uncertain is just how Avis plans to market
Zipcar, and how much Avis is willing to invest in advertising the
newly acquired company. Last year, Zipcar began seeking out big
network agencies to help spread its message, after historically
handling creative in-house or working with small U.S. shops.
Zipcar last summer kicked off a search for a global creative
agency. But shortly after, CMO Rob Weisberg left the company,
stalling the review. A spokeswoman for Zipcar said Wednesday that
the review is still in process.
Avis has also been taking a new marketing approach. Early last
year it selected Publicis Groupe 's Leo Burnett to handle its
creative business and by August the company sparked controversy when it dropped its 50
year-old tagline, "We try harder," in favor of Burnett's tagline
"It's your space."
Avis Budget in 2011 spent the majority of its measured media,
$42 million, on Avis, while it spent about $14 million on Budget.
Zipcar in 2011 spent about $7 million on measured media, according
to Kantar Media.
Zipcar, founded in 2000, has more than 760,000 members and is
active in 20 cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe, the companies
said today. Zipcar will proceed with plans to shift its
headquarters to Boston from its current headquarters of Cambridge,
By acquiring Zipcar, Avis Budget joins Enterprise Holdings and
Hertz Global Holdings, the two largest U.S. car-rental companies,
in the race for expanding hourly rentals.
Enterprise last year acquired Mint Cars On-Demand, an hourly
car-rental firm with locations in New York and Boston. Hertz said
last year it planned to equip its entire 375,000-vehicle U.S. fleet
for hourly rental. Avis Budget last year saw Hertz acquire Dollar
Thrifty for $2.6 billion, solidifying Hertz's No. 2 spot behind
Enterprise, which operates the Enterprise, Alamo and National
~With additional reporting from Bloomberg News~