Archive for the ‘taglines’ category

Oh My! Lord & Taylor Leverages Its Name Brilliantly!

April 28th, 2011

Here’s my first criterion for a classic ad campaign:  if you take your brand out and insert a competitive brand in its place,  the campaign doesn’t work nearly as well.

On that count, the new ad campaign for Lord & Taylor knocks it out of the park (or at least the mall).  “Oh My Bloomingdale’s!” just doesn’t resonate like “Oh My Lord & Taylor!”

What’s more, the inherent drama of the “Oh My Lord” phrase piques your curiosity and begs the question, “What’s all the excitement about?”

Of course, none of this will matter if Lord & Taylor doesn’t deliver on the implication that its offerings will really wow the customer.  But assuming that there’s substance to match the style, then it’s fair to say that this “Oh My!” campaign is perfectly “taylored” for its brand.

Own It!

February 20th, 2009

One of the most important tests of a company or brand tagline is to ask this question:  “If I were to replace my brand with my competitor’s brand, would the tagline be as effective?” If the answer is “Yes”, find another tagline.

For years Sony had a truly classic tagline: “Sony. The one and only.” That was a tagline they could own, and they did.  “Panasonic. The one and only.” just doesn’t have the same zing. But several years ago, someone at Sony apparently decided to make his or her mark on the company, and the tagline was changed to “Sony. Like no other.”

Huh? What were they possibly thinking? The literal meaning of the new line was virtually identical to the one it replaced, but it lacked ownability as well as distinction. If you were to insert “Panasonic” in place of “Sony”, the line wouldn’t lose an iota of impact (not that it could afford to). Over the years, whenever I asked people what Sony’s tagline was, not one person ever recalled the new one.

I’m not going to claim that switching taglines is what has caused Sony’s market share and its reputation for innovation to decline over the past several years. But I don’t think these events are a coincidence, either. Rather, I think that when companies make bad decisions regarding taglines–as well as advertising and other communications–it’s often a signal that they are making bad decisions in other areas as well. And the fact is that had I had the wisdom to short Sony’s stock around the time of their tagline change, I would have made a lot of money.

I guess the lesson is: if they don’t own their tagline, don’t own their stock.

Who Writes This Stuff?!?!

February 14th, 2009

I just saw a two-page spread for Porsche in a business magazine.  The main visual is a photo of three spectacular vehicles, and the headline is simply the names of the models:  “Cayman. Boxster. 911.” Despite the exciting products featured, however, this sports car ad is fairly pedestrian. 

To make matters worse, the only thing that really grabbed me–and I’m guessing I’m the only one it grabbed–is the first line of the body copy. Appearing directly below the “Cayman. Boxster. 911.” headline is the opening line, “Never before have three words meant so much.”  Now, I’m not against a little hyperbole now and then, particularly if it’s wrapped around a clever idea, but this is just a weak, flatfooted attempt that aimed at profundity and landed on absurdity.  I mean, are these really the most meaningful words ever uttered? Hell, technically, one of them isn’t even a word; it’s a number. I guess the copywriter felt that “Never before have two words and a number meant so much” wouldn’t roll trippingly off the tongue.
A similarly vacuous bit of copywriting is the tagline used in the current TV campaign for Bridgestone tires. Actually, the campaign itself is pretty well designed and well-produced, with the exception of the last line of the ads: “When it comes to tires, it’s Bridgestone, or nothing.” Uh, no, it’s not; it’s Bridgestone, or some other brand of tires. If you’re talking about a discretionary product, such as after-shave (remember the classic Aqua Velva commercials from the 1970s?), nothing might be an alternative, but that’s not the case with tires. Actually, Bridgestone could make its tagline work if showed customers who opt to drive with no tires if they can’t have Bridgestones. Of course, that’s absurd, but it at least could be a humorous and memorable way to convey the loyalty of its customers. But as it is, their tagline adds nothing to their ads, and it might even detract from them if any viewers are actually thinking about what’s being said to them.
Two questions come to mind: “Who’s writing this stuff?”, and “Who’s approving this stuff?”