Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thank you Jeepsters

It's easy to write a good tagline. C'mon, you know it is. We self-proclaimed creative people charge a lot for a tagline. But writing a good one is easy. I could write one right now. In fact I just did – "Write one right now" – perfect for a bill collector urging people to make out a check. Or how about this for a tagline: "How about this!" – for a company proclaiming its innovativeness. Much better than saying, "We're innovative." No doubt about it, a good line for an innovator is: "How about this!"

But if writing a good tagline is easy, writing a bad tagline is hard. I bet you would panic if someone demanded that you write a bad tagline or else roll around in poison ivy.

"C'mon, write a bad tagline, pal! You have thirty seconds!"

"Please, no... I can't write a bad tagline... It's too hard... I'm allergic to poison ivy... I, I can't... Okay, how about this... We l-l-love our... We love our love. How's that? That's bad, right? We love our love? It's ridiculous. No one can call that a tagline – not even an idiot. Can I go now?"

"Hmm... 'We love our love'... That's pretty catchy. We love our love. It's crisp, cryptic, caring. Into the poison ivy, loser!"

Yes, writing a bad tagline is hard. Standards are low (e.g. Check out the Wall Street Journal: live in the know). Just about any combination of words would work. There, I've done it again. Another tagline: "Words would work... But we prefer the work itself."

It's in the nature of taglining that people forgive inane tangles of syllables if there is a modicum of implied meaning.

But as you may know, people at Chrysler – the owners of Jeep and now servants of Fiat – have done it: They've publicized a tagline so toxic that if you ground up the words and scattered them around the underbrush, poison ivy would die.

Jeep – The things we make, MAKE US.

Pure genius. First prize for the world's worst tagline. Even beats the earlier moronic Jeep line: "I live. I ride. I am."

If you want to hurt someone, write to Jeep, find the people who thought up "The things we make, MAKE US." and pay them to scribble something on paper. Then pass the paper to your worst enemies and watch the sap drain from their bodies.



Jerry said...

Thanks for insights Claude

I often ponder why it is so difficult to persuade clients to embrace good ideas when they are so receptive to lousy ones.

Note to self:

Write a good tagline and then think of the appropriate client.

We've been doing it backwards for years.

Design a good logo...

brandsinger said...

Hey thanks, Jerry. Yes, there are plenty of good images and words lying around to be fashioned into compelling solutions for the right client.


Anonymous said...

Jerry is onto something. We also might think of starting a trend toward greater realism. Thus, Jeep's tagline would be: "Unreliable. Dangerous. Fun." And McDonald's would be: "Nutrition be damned. This tastes good." No deciphering needed...

brandsinger said...

Yes, Anonymous. I like your tagline for Jeep -- "Unreliable. Dangerous. Fun." Also applies to some women I used to know. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Jerry said...

Full disclosure, I use your word verification tool as a source of naming inspiration.

Already today I have found doperhem and inedogr.

I pitching a brown cafe in the Netherlands with the first name and an indoor dog walking service with the second.

brandsinger said...

Jerry - Keep practicing your English. You're making progress! We're proud of you.


scott said...

Jeep--We make the things us make.

brandsinger said...

Love it. You're a natural tagliner. How about this:
Intel Outside!


Anonymous said...

So here's what you're up to these days? Don't ask me what I'm doing here -- though our paths always cross for more reasons than one -- It's been more than twenty years, if I recall -- we had a chance to visit in NYC while I was attending an AHA (remember those ants?) convention. Good to see you're still the brilliant wordsmith, and appear to be doing well.

In eastern Oregon, where my family was five generations deep, we'd sometimes simply say, "It's a Jeep, bub." Does that work?

brandsinger said...

"It's a Jeep, bub" is a great expression -- and that's exactly what this brand needs -- honestly, humility, humanity. Heck, that's what every brand needs in place of the plastic artificialities of unimaginative marketers. "It's a Jeep, bub." That's gold.

Hey, thanks! I remember being a historian! It was loads of fun -- more like art than work. Sign your name next time and we'll get together over a dusty manuscript.