After glancing through this week’s sales circulars, I’ve begun to wonder about the many lame, meaningless platitudes that companies use as a poor excuse for a slogan or tagline. These include gems like Co-Op’s “My Co-Op. My community. It’s where I belong.”, Walmart’s “Save money. Live better.”, and Pharmasave’s “Live well. Enjoy life.” I’ve pondered who might have thought these up, did someone pay for this drivel, and what were they (all) thinking?
From what I’ve learned and through my own work experience, the best taglines:
- are memorable;
- possess a modicum of pertinence; and
- relate closely to the product, service, or company ethic.
Generic taglines can sometimes do well (like Nike’s “Just do it”), of course, since there are so many factors to consider, but rather than try to delve into the minds of the brilliant strategy gurus and goddesses of the marketing world, I thought I’d just propose some possibilities that at least make sense and might make for good “life” taglines or slogans (just for some fun, anyway):
Eat less. Live longer.
Buy less. Save money.
Shout less. Save eardrums.
Think more. Say less.
Be smart. Be yourself.
Don’t need it? Don’t buy it.
This could go on all day, and I’m just getting warmed up! I get the impression that Walmart and their ilk likely don’t need a catchy or intelligent tagline, anyway, because they have such a huge “captive” audience. Their words remind me of “Newspeak” in George Orwell’s infamous book, 1984, with terms used being deliberately stripped of any meaning, becoming even ironic and comical in their pretentiousness. “We’re slashing prices,” “Just lower prices,” and “Everyday savings” are some of the meaningless slogans we’ve all likely seen, all of which are nearly impossible to verify by any standard and therefore become hollow promises at most.
So, do we need better taglines and slogans? Is anyone paying attention? Of course they are! It’s our responsibility as marketing professionals to sell a product, service, image, or idea, granted. Why not do it with integrity, though? Instead of “dumbing it down” to the lowest common denominator of human intellect, why not appeal to the higher self, and set the bar a few notches up? After all, there’s no rule that taglines and slogans have to be meaningless to sound cool.
If you’ve been exposed to some really inane marketing claptrap, I’d enjoy hearing about it. Thank you for reading!