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The catchy, company phrase that works

The catchy, company phrase that works

Company slogans are big business. Fortunes have been made and presumably lost with a simple choice of words. Some will catch the consumers’ fancy; others, well, couldn’t even catch a cold.

Being someone who works with words, I guess I have a bit of a penchant for these things. What makes them work? And what doesn’t?

Like people, they take all forms, shapes and sizes – and don’t always make sense. In fact, some of them are so, shall we say, eyebrow-raising you wouldn’t even want your competitor using them, for fear of dragging you down as well.

Fast food restaurant chain Wendy’s managed to come up with ‘Where’s the beef?’ Hmmm … no comment. Surely someone at Verizon Wireless pointed out that ‘Can you hear me now? Good’ would end up being the butt of industry jokes about iffy phone reception.

Sometimes the obvious is clearly the best approach. Like eBay’s ‘The World’s Online Marketplace’. Says it all really. Ditto Xerox with its unforgettable ‘The Document Company’. And BP Microsystems’ ‘Setting the Standard in Device Programming’ – catchy in a could-you-say-that-again-very-slowly sort of way.

Renault managed ‘Créateur d’Automobiles’ which, if my school French is still working okay – or should that be très bien – means ‘maker of cars’. That clears that up then.

There was 7-Eleven’s ‘Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven’, which worked great except, of course, if you wanted a loaf of bread at 23:10.

Then there’s the slogan desperately trying to catch a ride on that of your rival. Pentax ‘For Your Precious Moments’ is nothing like a Kodak one, is it.

Some I still don’t get. IBM’s ‘On Demand Business’ springs to mind. And the point is …? I thought ‘We Make IT Happen’ was a darn sight better.

Some are cute. Jane Austen would have approved of Philips’s ‘Sense and Simplicity’. One-worders are fraught with danger but Samsung’s ‘Imagine’ has merit … or is that just because I’m humming a certain John Lennon number?

Thankfully the ICT world has come up with more than its fair share of doozies. Some never made it to New Zealand, but then that’s probably no bad thing. My favourites, in reverse order, naturally (and remember, these are supposed to be trying to get people to use the product or service):

9. Sun Microsystems – The Network Is The Computer (uh?)

8. Texas Instruments – The World Leader in DSP and Analog (another catchy one)

7. BellSouth – Listening, Answering (… and I’m sure you can come up with some add-ons here)

6. Amazon.com – …and You’re Done (or you have been if you bought a second-hand DVD.)

Now into the home straight.

5. Hewlett-Packard – Invent (‘Invent’ what precisely?)

4. Optus – Yes … (‘Yes’ … what?)

3. Acorn Computers – No slogan (trying to be too clever by half)

2. Motorola – ‘Hello. Moto’ (what?)

And my all time favourite …

1. Honeywell – We are Honeywell

… Bugger! Why didn’t you just say so in the first place?


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