Anyone can write a strapline…
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The best straplines are brand gold dust.
They can evoke strong feelings of nostalgia, make us laugh, challenge our beliefs and even deliberately make us feel uncomfortable. And of course, they can do wonders for our profile, businesses and products.
And anyone can write a strapline…
We could sit down together and write one for your business in the next hour, over a latte. Why not? Well, because it’s actually harder than it looks, and if you get it wrong you can stink the place out. I’m thinking of when Dr Pepper came up with ‘It’s not for women’. I guess everyone who worked in marketing for Dr Pepper suddenly didn’t want to work there any more.
Lloyds Banking Group excelled itself when its own customers concluded it should be banned from using its ‘By your side’ slogan following the HBOS fraud scandal, not to mention its overall crappy service history.
And of course, everyone’s customer service ranking favourite BT has a new multi-million pound slogan ‘Be There’ that is either highly comical, ironic or insulting if you’ve ever tried to call them or book an appointment; reading more as a pleading request from yet another frustrated customer than a strong and confident statement of brand intent.
But of course, there have been some great slogans too, and we all know them. That’s the point. Apple produced a classic in our industry which we take a more in-depth look at later. First, here are just a few others we think are done really well:
‘No FT, no comment’
clever, succinct phrasing hinting at clever, succinct content, and without sounding self-important, creating a sense of imperative and thought leadership, that we need to buy this paper
‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’
Ronseal’s no-nonsense phrasemaking with a good dose of humanity in its grumpiness
‘Vorsprung durch Technik’
the bold, untranslated line that gave Audi some proper German engineering credentials
‘Just do it’
Nike’s slightly stroppy entreat to sporting action, the undisputed gold medallist of call-to-action, attitudinal and monosyllabic slogans … in one glorious swoosh
These straplines are so good they have become the most obvious and tangible manifestations of the brand’s the represent. Simple, catchy and unforgettable, get them right and straplines strengthen almost every aspect of your marketing, and become so synonymous that you don’t even need a name any more.
Which is exactly what makes them so difficult to write.