It’s been a while since I last had a brief to surmise an entire organisation, its principles, its ethos, its vision. I’ve missed this kind of brief to be honest. I didn’t realise quite how much until a new client, with a new business, phoned up and asked me to encapsulate their soon to be launched new company in as few words as possible.
It’s exciting. So as always it began with a little inspiration by researching some of the legends of yesteryear.
1. Think different. - Apple
Has any other slogan so encapsulated what a company stands for than Apple’s Think Different? Two words that say so much about the company’s identity as the mavericks of the computer age.
2. Every Little Helps – Tesco
There have been many great straplines written for supermarkets, but the enduring brilliance of this one edges it for me. As one the of most successful company slogans ever created, it was surprising to hear that Tesco were close to dropping it not so long ago.
3. Coca Cola – It’s the real thing
Coke tend to change their slogans regularly, but this line is closest to what most of us would think of as the soul of the brand.
4. Beanz Meanz Heinz – Heinz Baked Beans
Another slogan conveying the authentic and original. Its durability is living proof that a well-written slogan can continue to deliver a relevant and powerful statement of the brand image.
5. Just Do It – Nike
Strangely, it has been stated it was inspired by US murderer Gary Gilmore‘s final words before being handed the death penalty. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
6. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait – Guinness
Drawing on the unique qualities of the drink’s identity to make the mouth water with anticipation.
7. Commercial Union – We won’t make a drama out of a crisis
One of the great customer service lines. We'll remain cool, calm and collected when your world falls apart.
8. HSBC – The world’s local bank
Connecting a titan of the financial world with customers everywhere through a brand idea that embraces the variety and richness of culture in the world. Powerful thinking. Wish I'd written it.
9. Peperami – It’s a bit of an animal
Food with attitude. This line captures not only the essence of the product but also the essence of a fantastic long running campaign idea.
10. Carlsberg – Probably The Best Lager In The World
Some endlines never go flat. An unsupportable big, brave statement with a twist to position Carlsberg as the best without actually saying so. Since first used in the 1970s there's been an abundance of great, award winning work that you can evaluate against the line. Is it good enough to be a Carlsberg ad? Probably.
And the list goes on.
Now feeling inspired to explore my new client’s world, it occurred to me that over the last several years the endline seems to have become less of a brand necessity and more of a hindrance. Perhaps it’s a new digitally obsessed generation of marketers in a rapidly changing marketing landscape that don’t have the time or the budget to consider the big picture. A big picture needs a big hook. The Mona Lisa wouldn’t be as impressive just leaning against a wall in a dark and dingy corner of the Louvre.
Personally speaking I believe a great endline is an incredibly valuable asset that can imprint itself in the minds of, I won’t call them consumers, target audience, viewers, visitors…just people. The very people we advertising, media, digital gurus and dodos (sorry if I left anyone out) are all paid to engage and persuade through our vast array of creative talents and plethora of media channels in which we specialise.
At the heart of all of our collective efforts should be a unifying idea that summarises a brand. Positions it. Embeds an overarching brand truth or communications idea in our hearts and minds and gives us a warm tingly feeling of being acknowledged and understood.
Each and every one of those legendary lines mentioned above has stood the test of time and often generations. They serve a purpose to all of us advertising and media folk who have the good fortune and talent to work in our industry. An endline should unify our thinking and drive a brand towards a common vision, engaging consumers, sorry, people, especially those who have the privilege to work on a client’s brand. We are, after all, people too.
As for me, after two days of burning the midnight ink, I had my ‘eureka’ moment. I felt it first. Wrote it second. I paced, pondered, spoke it and rationalised it. I still had that tingly feeling. It stacked up. All three words. Not much for two days work you might think. My client thinks otherwise. Happy days. And hopefully years ahead.