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.