Inside Hertz’s award-winning Facebook campaign

The car-rental company took the first ever Travel + Leisure Social Media and Tourism Award for the best use of a social platform for its Gas and Brake campaign.

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Type A or Type B? Cautious or reckless? Jekyll or Hyde? Gas or brake?

Placing people into opposing categories to describe their personalities is a time-honored tradition, but car rental company Hertz put a new spin on the idea last year with its “Gas or Brake” campaign, which took two “opposites attract” characters and asked fans which one better represents them. On Facebook, fans could assign a category, “gas” or “brake” to their friends or take a personality quiz.

“It’s easy for us to put something out there and have someone ‘like’ it,” says Lemore Hecht, manager of communications and social media at Hertz. “It’s something else for people to actually participate.”

The campaign struck such a nerve with Hertz’s Facebook fanbase that Travel + Leisure magazine gave the company its first-ever Social Media + Tourism Award (a SMITTY) for best use of a social media platform.

The campaign

Hertz started its Facebook page in 2009, but didn’t really ramp up its strategy on the site until about 18 months ago, Hecht says. The Gas and Brake campaign got going not long after that, in May 2011.

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