Even before I was firmly entrenched in the advertising and marketing business I always admired a good tag line.
– 7up – The Uncola
– Coke – It’s the real thing
– DeBeers – A diamond is forever
– United – Fly the Friendly skies
I could easily go on ad (no pun intended) infinitum. I’ve also wondered why brands move away from what would seemingly be an iconic tagline. Why kill ‘It’s the real thing’? In a world of ever increasing marketing noise wouldn’t an iconic tag line stand out more than some new one (unless it was killer)?
McDonald’s, for instance has gone through many, as have most brands, and they like most brands that change have had good ones and not so good ones (“I’m lovin’ it” does not really do it for me).
So why do brands change their tag lines if they are so memorable and admired? At what point do the brand managers decide that what has been working no longer does and it’s time for a new one. Of course if you ask any advertising or marketing agency about changing an iconic tag line the almost universal response will be “Sure”. After all there’s money to be made.
But what if a brand marketer came to an ad agency and suggested they felt their tag line was stale, and consequently was considering a change. Could an agency have the cajones to say – ‘Actually we think your tag line is awesome even if it did not come from us.” The rule of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ can be applied can’t it?
I’ve noticed that Facebook has no tag line. In fact there are a number of brands whose tag line is either non-existent or completely unmemorable. And yet when I think of brands that have had great tag lines “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” (bet you know that one) I wonder what made them think – yes it’s time to retire that one?
As you can probably tell I am a big believer in a great, iconic tag line. But am I part of a vanishing breed?
Are tag lines less relevant today than they were twenty or thirty years ago? And if you think so why?