StraplinesThis is not a strapline.
February 25, 2005
City branding, now there's a thing.
I was recently in Chicago (LingoLAB is nothing if not International - next month Moscow!). Since I have been back, anyone who knows I was there asks "and was it windy?". So it seems pretty much everyone knows Chicago is the windy city. Visit the local tourist website, and it makes no mention. I expected to see a nice strapline, but nothing. Zip.
Go to Glasgow's official tourist guide website (www.seeglasgow.com), and you are told that Glasgow is 'Scotland with style'. A friend from Scotland even told me there is a plan to refer to Glasgow as 'Glasgow - the new black'.
Now the actual Glasgow strapline is most interesting, especially (if like my friend) you are from Scotland but not Glasgow. The implication being that Scotland is wholly bereft of style, except Glasgow... nice.
London has some sort of new brand image, it's on the www.visitlondon.com which is apparently the official website for London (who decided that one?)
No strapline (as yet) just a device with something funny instead of the 'o's, unfortunately on the website the 'funny things' are too small to recognise (at least with my eyesight - useful for a tourist site I think you'll agree (ok, maybe the top thing is Big Ben).
Interestingly, Michael Johnson at johnson banks has done a fantastic identity for Think London (www.thinklondon.com) - showing how it should be done.
I know a little bit about this sort of thing, since we have pitched for our fair share of regional and city brands (surprisingly our pitch to the London Development Agency for a London brand titled 'Not a Logo for London - The last thing London needs is another Logo' didn't win us the job!).
Every city (and region) is keen to get itself on the logo map, inward investment, tourism, local pride, that sort of thing, are all thought to be reasons to brand - and it does keep quite a few designers and branding specialists busy.
There are a few that want to go that extra step, with a strapline, and that's particularly where LingoLAB can come in, crafting that pithy statement that just captures the spirit and 'benefit' of the locale.
I am sure our associate Timothy Foster at Adslogans (www.adslogans.co.uk) has got a draw-full, and if we all ask nicely he might give us a list of his favourites.
My view, for what it's worth, and setting aside simple things like 'what's the brief', is that straplines need to have a sense of 'truth' or 'authenticity'. Some of my favourite straplines aren't always loaded with significance or even necessarily linguistically correct, they have wit, a lightness of touch, but always touch a truth - eg 'A little dab'll do ya' - Brylcreem, or even 'Get a hat, get ahead' - the Hat Council (1934), 'Beenz meanz Heinz' - Heinz.
Clever straplines can help to add brand 'stickyness', prompt awareness, encapsulate the brand idea and simply act as a memory jogger. Adslogans has got some interesting resources on the theory behind straplines - well worth a visit.
So for a bit of fun, which of the following do you think are actually used, and which maybe should be used?
1. 'Chicago - the windy city'.
2. 'New York - the big apple'
3. 'Los Angeles - City of Angels'
4. 'Manchester - MADchester'
5. 'London - Totally LONDON'
6. 'London - he who tires of London tires of life itself'
7. 'Cardiff - Europe's youngest capital'
8. 'York - live the history'
9. 'Newcastle - Beach Days...Harbour sights...city nights'
10. 'Nottinghamshire - total inspiration'
11. 'Birmingham - many worlds... one great city'
12. 'Glasgow - Scotland with style'
13. 'Edinburgh - The real thing'
14. Kiddiminster - take a break, take it in Kiddiminster'
15. 'Coventry - Coventry helps you work, rest and play'
16. 'Cumbernauld - choose life, choose Cumbernauld'
17. 'Hull - Hull on earth'
18. 'Birmingham - Journey to the centre of the earth'
19. 'Fife - fortifies the over fifties'
20. 'Liverpool - lorra lorra love'
21. 'Slough - the place to come from'
22. 'Portsmouth - better than Southampton'
23. 'Southampton - better than Portsmouth'
24. 'Stockport - cleaner, greener, safer, stronger'
I think I'll stop there, before I alienate everyone. Obviously not all of these are practical, desirable (or available - Ed), but I think you've got the idea.
So what do you think - good idea to have a strapline? Just stick with a logo? As ever, you decide.
Posted by jonathan.mercer at 06:36 PM | Single Article
December 15, 2004
Not Just for Christmas - Hijacked!
The Dog’s Trust campaign - A dog is for life, not just for Christmas has inspired many others to use - not just for Christmas. Imitation - the sincerest form of flattery, but only up to a point!
A great campaign line is a work of art. The best and most resonant can become expressions used in everyday speech. How many times have you used “Because you’re worth it!” or “It does what it says on the tin”?
As Christmas arrives, the Dog’s Trust great campaign lines “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas” and “A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas” have inspired many others to use “not just for Christmas” to the point where it is in danger of becoming common currency. The dilemma is that it’s so good everyone wants to use it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but only up to a point.
25 years since it was launched!
The Dogs Trust is a victim of its own success. Having used the line for 25 years it has become embedded in the psyche. It’s been a great message for them. The problem is it’s a great message for others too. Even the BBC and Tesco are using “not just for Christmas” this year. It must very galling for the charity to have it’s campaign line effectively ‘hijacked’. Especially when it is used in relation to animal care and welfare and by other charities. There’s the potential for confusion and it erodes the message when used by different organisations. The last thing a charity wants is to be unnoticed and it’s key message to become commonplace. If it is widely used then it can be more easily ignored.
The Dogs Trust are pragmatic in their outlook and consider the use of “not just for Christmas”. A spokesperson from the Dogs Trust stated “It’s not so much of an issue when there’s no confusion and it’s for something completely different. We are positive and upbeat about our work and its our concern to do as much to protect and help dogs as possible. We know that people use it because its such a great campaign line and people who do use it are usually very responsive and make a contribution to the charity.”
Turning the use of “not just for Christmas” to its own advantage, the Dogs Trust have a positive and pragmatic approach to the issue. For instance, the use of the campaign line “A rabbit is for life and not just for Christmas” used by Ann Summers to promote a vibrator, resulted in a donation to the Dogs Trust and links on both sites.
Campaign lines are often not seen as pieces of property as they usually comprise common terms or language. While a line from a high-profile international corporation might be left alone because of the potential for legal action, a line from a charity, public sector organization etc. can be seen as fair game. Indeed they may not be seen a pieces of property at all.
Campaign lines usually have a limited life. In fact it’s unusual to have one reach 25 years of age. So does this mean it’s time for a new one? A real conundrum when the message needs to be communicated each year. If dogs are being given as unsuitable and inappropriate Christmas presents then it’s the Dogs Trust duty to campaign about it. It provides a primary rallying call for volunteers and fundraisers and is a key message to enable them do what they’re to do. Having to change it because others have used it would be unfortunate. My view is that it’s such a great asset, hang on to it unless it’s really not working.
Charities feel very aggrieved when time and funds have to be used to defend their intellectual property rights. They understandably see themselves as unfair targets or victims of circumstance.
A trawl on the Internet revealed a surprising range of uses of “not just for Christmas” (the list below is not comprehensive, but gives you a good flavour). They range from the obvious to the unusual, from the strange to the bizarre.
Well, as I travel through the forest on my quad bike, glad that I have a warranty, carrying my freshly made eggnog cheesecake in search of reindeer, while hoping I don’t encounter any ‘stray current’ that could do me harm, I shall think of you and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
We do not send Christmas cards and this year one of the charities we are making a donation to is the Dog’s Trust.
A Gift is for life – not just for Christmas
Toys they’re not just for Christmas!
The National Forest
A tree is not just for Christmas
A website is not just for Christmas
A Goat is not just for Christmas
A fund is for life not just for Christmas
Prison is for life not just for Christmas
Esat BT (Ireland)
Esat BT Broadband, not just for Christmas
Roddy Doyle’s book “Not Just for Christmas”
Eggnog Cheesecake (not just for Christmas)
“Not just for Christmas”, Christian Musical Theme
Quad Bikes not just for Christmas – or Celebrities
Weight Loss can be for life not just for Christmas
Reindeer - not just for Christmas
A warranty is not just for Christmas – it’s for life
Cosmetic Surgery is for life not just for Christmas
Safety’s not just for Christmas
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
Safety’s not just for Christmas
Drink driving campaigns NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS
National Cycling Strategy
A bike is not just for Christmas
Stray Current is for life not just for Christmas
Stretching credulity a bit far. What is stray current? Why would it be particularly associated with Christmas?
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 04:03 PM | Single Article
September 12, 2004
Probably the best ambulance in the world…
I read in the 'The Mail on Sunday' (12th September 2004) today that ambulances could soon be used as mobile advertising boardings, in a bid to raise extra funds for the NHS.
The new scheme would see ambulances rushing to emergencies inscribed with slogans for high-street names.
This idea was the brainchild of the Hampshire Ambulance Trust, which wants to find sponsorship for its fleet of 240 emergency and patient transport vehicles. Firms would have their logo displayed on the vehicles doors although ‘inappropriate’ sponsors such as tobacco and alcohol companies would be banned.
The scheme was welcomed by the Patients Association President Clarie Rayner who said ‘It won’t do patients any harm and if it gets the ambulance to them more quickly it will do them good. That’s how the world is these days and I am a realist. It might offend our sense of taste to see it but life and health come first.’
So don’t be surprised when you see an ambulance going by with;
Barclaycard: For life’s little emergencies
The ambulance in front is a Toyota
Commercial Union: We won’t make a drama out of a crisis
Personally, if I am ever in need of an ambulance (which I hope is never the case), I would rather have one turn up with Loreal: ‘Because you’re worth it’, than an ambulance not turn up at all.
As Nike would say ‘Just do it’.
Posted by louise.tomkinson at 04:56 PM | Single Article
August 02, 2004
Make the most of your break – how?
I was very disappointed to hear this week that Nestlé is dropping KitKat's long running advertising slogan, "Have a break, have a KitKat", as it does not believe that the line motivates people to buy more of the chocolate biscuits.
The product, developed as Wafer Crisp, was initially launched in London, UK in September 1935 as Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp. It became 'KitKat' in 1937, two years before the Second World War. Almost 50 years after it was created, the well known slogan will be axed in a new £5 million ad campaign due to break next month and will be replaced by the line, "make the most of your break."
Chris White, managing director of Nestlé Rowntree, said the old slogan "doesn't work anymore" but said that it may be re-introduced over coming years.
Nestlé said the move was not linked to falling profits for the brand and that sales had increased by ten per cent over recent weeks.
I’m not too sure whether this is just a clever marketing strategy to get people out of their prams and shouting ‘free our slogan!’ or whether the team at Nestlé really do think that ‘make the most of your break’, will win people over and encourage them to eat a Kit-Kat. I’m not convinced!
Some strap lines such as “Have a break, have a Kit-Kat” are self-referential ensuring that the product is directly mentioned and a key part of the message. By making the new slogan - "make the most of your break,” the brand will no longer be telling the customer how they should enjoy their break. Should they be drinking a glass of wine or eating a ‘Twix’ – who knows…but it doesn’t say you should go and eat a Kit-Kat!
Other examples of strap lines where the product is directly mentioned are:
“That’s Asda price”
“Beanz Meanz Heinz”
“No FT, no comment”
“You can be sure of Shell”
“All because the lady loves Mike Tray”
“It’s a Skoda, honest!”
“For mash, get Smash”
Others express a more abstract message or higher concept:
“Reassuringly expensive” – Stella Artois
“Just do it!” – Nike
“The world’s favourite Airline” – British Airways
“The appliance of science” – Zanussi
“It is. Are you?” The Independent
“Because I’m worth it” – L’Oreal
“Put a tiger in your tank” – Esso
“A diamond is forever” - DeBeers
“Va Va Vroom!” – Renault
“Solutions for a small planet” - IBM
Straplines or tag lines have become increasingly important components in the brand armoury. Providing a key or supporting message for the brand. Some of them become part of our culture, having a resonance beyond the product or business itself. We’re all very grateful to Ronseal for their magnificent contribution of “It does what it says on the tin!” A wonderfully straightforward strapline to express a refreshingly straightforward offer!
A “Finger lickin’ good” strapline is a memory hook to link with the brand, so that the two are associated and remembered. The more it says about the experience of the product or offers the better, ideally delivering a positive, upbeat statement. At its best it provides a nugget of emotional engagement. “Every little helps” to support the brand message, to make it “Everybody’s favourite ingredient”.
I was convinced that most people know the KitKat slogan, so just out of interest I asked 50 of my friends and family whether they knew what the Kit-Kat slogan was and there wasn’t any hesitance – they all knew instantly that it was, "Have a break, have a KitKat”. Chris White may feel that the slogan doesn’t work anymore but Brand recognition like this is what most brands and their brand managers would kill for. When I asked them about the new slogan ‘make the most of your break’ most of the feedback was ‘it’s not as catchy’, ‘why waste money changing it – when most people know and like the original slogan?’ and ‘it’s not as memorable’ etc.
Businesses are putting increased effort into developing strap lines that work for the brand. They can appear deceptively simple, as if they were always there and say the obvious. However, we believe that creating them requires some key components that refer back to the fundamentals of the brand itself:
• A well defined brand strategy
• Simple, articulate brand values clearly expressed
• Absolute understanding of your customers and what motivates them
• identifying a clear point of differentiation from your competitors
• The ability to deliver the promise the strap line expresses – if you purport to be “The listening bank” then you have to listen!
• Longevity – you may not use it forever, but it needs to be capable of long-term use (you usually want to ensure that your strap line is not just for a campaign)
• That it can be used in other countries (idioms often don’t literally translate)
So do you need one? Should all brands have them?
It depends on why you want to say something and how and where you need to say it. Brand owners often expect their name and logo to do too much. A strapline can be a great way of expressing something that the name can’t. All brand collateral needs to work together and it’s perfectly acceptable to have different pieces of collateral communicating different things. When you want to use words, a strapline can be ideal for this.
They work really well when you want to communicate a genuine brand truth as point of differentiation, but one that will emotionally engage. The more it expresses action or experiences the better. This can be really hard for service and B2B brands, but it is still possible as we’re all emotional beings.
They can make your brand work harder, but they’re unlikely to rectify the problem of a brand not working well on its own. They mustn’t be invoked as a quick fix like sticking plaster to protect a grazed knuckle.
Nestlé Rowntree has said that the different slogan reflects a change in the British mindset and that people in the UK are better at taking breaks and do not need to be encouraged to do so.
Us British may be taking more breaks, according to Nestlé, but I feel that most people I know, including myself are busier than ever and feel like there are never enough hours in the day – so I would still really like Nestlé to encourage me to "Have a break, have a KitKat", (and forget that diet I am always talking about!)
LingoLAB create straplines and provide strapline audits and searches for in the UK and internationally.
Posted by louise.tomkinson at 11:00 AM | Single Article
LingoLAB is a creative naming agency,
creating the language that makes brands successful.