Thursday, March 01, 2007

Authors and Slogans

I think advertising slogans are becoming very dull and unimaginative. Take McDonald's current slogan: I'm Lovin' It. Lovin' what, precisely? The prices? The service? The entire menu? I had one of your salads a few weeks ago, and I didn't exactly hate it, but love? Not even close. You want a crack at my heart, you need to stock fresher lettuce, sodium/fat-free dressings, and lose those lousy cherry tomatoes you dump in everything.

If you're going to go with an uninspired slogan, at least get creative with the presentation. Capital One's slogan of "What's in your wallet?" is flatter than a French crepe, but the commercials with the Dark Age barbarian hordes storming into modern life before their leader delivers it as a one-liner makes it deliciously funny.

If advertising departments need to hire different writers, they should rustle up a few authors. God knows we can use the work. For example:

Dan Brown for UPS: See what the other globally-dominating brown can do for you.

Jackie Collins for De Beers: A Diamond is forever, but then, so is alimony.

Sue Grafton for the United States Army: B is for all you can be.

Laurell K. Hamilton for G.E.: We bring dead things to life.

Stephen King for Verizon Wireless: Can you hear me now? ...Good! Go kill everyone around you.

Thomas Harris for the United Negro College Fund: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Want a taste?

China Mieville for McDonald's Big Mac: Two oily beef patties crawling with secret sauce created in hidden places somewhere beneath the unnamed city at the juncture of two rivers, one south-flowing and one gone sluggish and stagnant, wilted lettuce from the window box of a one-armed nun turned pimp, cheese with verdant, moldy corners made from the milk of a mutated cow force-fed diseased grain, which might also explain the odorous patties as they were, as that farmer's horse vanished on curd-making day, pickled things from the murky bottom of an ancient and ominously rusted barrel, onions or perhaps bunions from the old mayor's feet, cunningly carved to resemble onions, on a bun seeded with disaster, weevils and the lipstick marks from the pouting mouth of the young tart at the serve-all window who had obviously stolen a bite before bagging it.

PBW for The United States Air Force: Aim high. No, higher, nitwit.

Hunter S. Thompson for The Partnership for a Drug-Free America: This is my brain. It's your brain on drugs. Any questions?

Reverend Rick Warren for Volkswagen: Purpose-Drivers wanted.

I have a couple of personal slogans, and someday I'm going to figure out how I can tattoo Blow me on some part of my body without Mom finding out. How about you all? Have you come up with a personal slogan, or have a particular favorite out there in the advertising world?

28 comments:

  1. I think Sonic's slogan--"It's Sonic Good"--is a waste of time. "It's Sonic good" doesn't tell whether it's good or not.

    Our trash people have the slogan: "Our business is always picking up."

    Oh, and I don't know if it counts as a slogan, but I've always loved the name tag Hannibal Cane wore when he crashed in to save Blade in Blade Trinity: "Hello, my name is F**K YOU." (I put the stars, because I'm not sure about this sites policy on cursing, but you get the general idea.)

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  2. Love that, Jason. Also, just to clarify my position on cursing: I do swear on occasion, usually mildly; I don't object to it being used by visitors, and I refuse to censor anyone else's language. Freedom of speech is more important to me than catering to whoever appoints themselves the Word Police this week. ;)

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  3. In college, mine was "bullshit baffles brains" - which explains how I graduated.

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  4. re: commercials. I really enjoy the cavemen commercials for Geico. I used to enjoy the ones with the celebrities, but I'm tired of them now. (just for the record though, the commercials didn't make me go out and switch insurance companies)

    I think I'll start a new WIP about cavemen... so cute, all that facial hair.

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  5. I used to work on mainframes for this big company. They used some antiquated email program with a name I can't remember. One day, I saw on one of the old terminals a sticker that said.

    [The email program] users do it at least twice a day.

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  6. I've been working on this personal slogan for about a week now. See what happens when there's no WIP?

    Never mistake your personal prejudices for universal truths.

    Think it needs to be catchier, tho'.

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  7. Lynn... heard about
    tis on Kristin's blog. Do you know you are on this thing? You might want to check it out.

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  8. Sonic' slogan...

    Low fat/low cal foods are for sissies.

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  9. I should offer BigHugeCo the tagline for my book:

    Sex, lies, and insurance fraud. Yeah, we handle all that.

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  10. The one slogan I've always loved for myself is: "The more people I meet, the more I like my cat." *-*

    Ironically, that works kind of well for some of my books, too!

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  11. Judy wrote: Lynn... heard about
    tis on Kristin's blog. Do you know you are on this thing? You might want to check it out.


    Nope, I didn't know Darkyn was being pirated, although it happens now and then with a lot of my books. I'll send the info to the appropriate folks -- thanks for the heads up, Judy.

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  12. "Life is hard, and then you die."

    This is what I tell my children whenever they whine about the general unfairness of existence.

    The other day, I started to say it and they interrupted me to chant it at the tops of their little voices. In perfect harmony. While standing in line at the grocery store.

    We got some looks, lemme tell ya.

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  13. I used to work for a major metropolitan hospital in Detroit, whose ad slogan was:

    We Can.

    Even those of us who worked there said, "Can what? Fuck us over? Screw up our meds? Overcharge? Operate on the wrong patient?"

    Not a good ad campaign.

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  14. The "so easy a caveman could do it" commercials with the offended neanderthals crack me up every time.

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  15. Oh... You're killing me... Especially the Laurell K Hamilton slogan, and the Hunter S. Thompson. I'm laughing my tiny-hiney off.

    I'm getting a little tired of the cavemen, but the gecko still slays me. The worst slogan ever: Mazda's "The SUV you never saw coming". What? Until it ran you over?

    The closest I've ever come to a slogan for myself is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

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  16. It's taken me a while to think off an advertising slogan I actually like. Which, if you'd ever seen me running around like a wet hen during an advert break when I can't find the freaking remote to mute the tv, you would probably understand better than you do now. *takes breath*

    It was the Pepperami ads. Dunno if you know what Pepperami is over in the States, but it's some kind of meat product that looks a bit like a tube. The slogan was: "Pepperami: it's a bit of an animal". What with the vicious Pepperami People, it was hilarious.

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  17. off? of, off, of, off...where's the Potomac?

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  18. I would pay cash money to be able to sit next to a director and say,

    "No, I'm really not the multi-published author whose book you just produced for millions of dollars per my advice...
    But I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night..."

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  19. My husband's company does electrical contracting, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration, and our very, very unofficial company slogan is a response one of our subcontractors gave to a customer in response to a toilet question: "We ain't no f**king plumbers."

    (It wasn't all that funny at the time he said it as he was speaking to a customer, but it grew on us. He's no longer doing our work, but the slogan remains.)

    My favorite commercial slogan is still "Yo quiero Taco Bell", and my new least favorite tactic is Volkswagen now calling their vehicles "V-dubs". If I was a fabulously wealthy author, I would buy one just to introduce it to the bottom of my Rubicon's tires. Repeatedly.

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  20. Posted on my fridge:
    Never confuse having a career with having a life.
    Ann

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  21. Oh, and my own personal writing slogan for 2006 was "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch", but since I'm still on the front steps, under the overhang, it probably wasn't a good choice.

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  22. "If duct tape can't fix it, chocolate probably will." I used that in a book and it kind of turned into my motto.

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  23. Jason5:02 PM

    Shannon--I'm not personally fond of the Volkswagon cars, but the V-Dub commercials with the German guy always made me laugh. I guess, because it was so out of place.

    I have two personal mottos:

    SSDD: Same Shit Different Day

    and: If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

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  24. Desiree5:03 PM

    My Grandfather has a good saying I dont know if its someone elses but it goes like this. "If assholes could fly the sky would be black, so stop worring about it".

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  25. My slogan is "Science Fiction with NUTS!", which says it all really. Except in Clunk's case.

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  26. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

    ROTFL

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  27. "Sarcasm is only one of the services I provide." I even have it printed on a tshirt.

    I've always found the "What are you eating today?" slogan from Arby's amusing because if you're eating at Arby's, that off-brown processed meat substance they serve could be just about anything.

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  28. I love high-concept humor. Your China Mieville takeoff is spot-on, except you neglected to use the words "chitinous" or "chthonic." There can be no Mieville without chitin. That said, I think he's a genius.

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