It’s not often that the manufacturers slogan on a shopping trolley is worth a second look, in fact it’s never worth a second look unless you happen to be a buyer for a chain of supermarkets, however a recent visit to one UK chain store had me sniggering to myself …
During my short time as Corporate Brand Guardian for Invensys plc I was invited to attend a presentation at London blue-chip agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT), where they intended to present the ‘solution’ to our advertising problems. The problems we had were many as our company totally lacked any sort of coherence as to what it actually did; “Widgets” we used to tell people.
The slick presentation by the suits at the very new and plush HQ in Knightsbridge was almost convincing. However, as our own Director of Communications rightly pointed out, sticking ‘MAKE IT HAPPEN’ under our logo wouldn’t really help to explain that we made food processing equipment and railway signals. We rejected the idea and left.
Happily for JWT the next big client who sat in on the very same presentation bought it. Although quite why Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) thought it appropriate is hard to say – what were they going to make happen exactly? Did they foresee the taxpayer bail-out? Did they originally intend to have a longer strapline that began “Financial ruin…”.
Next up to take the same meaningless strapline was Chevrolet. Again, what did they think you would make happen in a crappy American car? Regret perhaps?
Both RBS and Chevrolet eventually saw sense and dropped it, but not before they’d both wasted millions.
And finally it was on an Asda supermarket forecourt that I read the very same three words under the logo of the shopping trolley manufacturers’ logo. At least here you could give them some credit for their choice … it’d be hard to go shopping around a giant superstore without a trolley.
“We need a snappy strapline” is the phrase most often spoken at Ad Agency client meetings, but clearly the results suggest that is heard as either “We need a crappy strapline” or “We need a snappy crapline” by the men in suits.