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Lessons From Maaco's Marketing Revamp



For nearly 50 years, Maaco has used the iconic slogan “Uh oh, better get Maaco” throughout its marketing and advertising efforts.

But after 2020, a year that changed how all individuals and businesses operate, the company felt its strategy could use a refresh, said Hannah Whitesides, Maaco’s vice president of marketing.

After testing “a bunch” of different options with consumers, Whitesides found its iconic slogan still resonated with a larger audience. So Maaco set out to put a unique and fresh spin on the half-century-old saying.

“2020 was such a tough year for everyone,” Whitesides said. “If we were going to come out with a new campaign, we wanted it to be really positive. We felt like that’s what people need. And we wanted it to be memorable, so we went with a song.”

What the company came up with is “The Upside of Uh-Oh” a revamp of its traditional slogan that highlighted and emphasized the positive effect Maaco can have to remedy an unfortunate collision. The advertisement will air in 30- and 15-second formats on national and cable networks with a long-form version featured on digital and social channels.

So what can shop owners learn from Maaco’s brand revamp? Whitesides shared some tips with FenderBender.

Understand when it’s time for a change.

It’s easy to fall into a rhythm when something is working. Whether that’s in operating a business, running a marketing strategy or in your personal life. But there’s a fine line between riding the wave of a good strategy and overdoing it, Whitesides said.

While Maaco’s slogan dates back to the origin of the company, it hasn’t always been a focal point of the marketing strategy, Whitesides said. The company has leaned into it and pulled away from it over the years, being careful not to push out too much of a good thing.

It has seemingly been an effective strategy as 50 years later it is still performing well in focus groups and with consumers at large. But when it does roll it out again, the latest example shows they still effort subtle changes to the brand.

“You’re hearing the slogan you know but it still feels new again, even after 49 years,” Whitesides said.

Lean on positive and memorable.

Maaco’s revamp was jump started by COVID-19, as the company hoped to provide some entertainment and positivity in an otherwise uneasy time. That’s why the company went with the upsides that can happen from a collision or a visit to one of their shops.

But to have the intended effect on the audience, Whitesides knew it needed to be memorable. To do so, they made the commercial into a song, an effective way to create a link, Whitesides said.

The company brought in a music video director to oversee the production and ensure it was unique and memorable and create a campaign that looks very similar to music videos and less like an advertisement.

Whitesides advises that shops should prioritize memorability and through a positive message. Campaigns with those two qualities will elicit the best results and feedback.

“From a marketing perspective, it’s important to grab their attention and earn their trust from their first interaction and carry that trust with the brand to their last experience,” Whitesides said. “The focal point should be about taking care of the consumer and in the right way, having a lot of integrity for the work that we do. That’s what our Maaco franchisees do.”