Saturday, June 05, 2004

Oh dear. Reading stuff on the NYT website, and when one of the pop-unders starts playing music. It's an ad for British Airways. Something about being able to sleep on their planes. Only as the music reaches the final bar, into my head pops the slogan "there must be a better way". Which is from those Natwest adverts. Which, now that I think about it, didn't have the same music. Maybe it's just the last few notes rising as the tempo slows that reminds me.

And strangely I cannot find the Natwest advert anywhere. Merely people quoting it (and generally saying how crap Natwest is). And according to it's a pretty poor slogan anyway.

Though from this website I've now learnt the Girl Guides slogan is Dream, Dare, Do. Er, given the number of girls who wanted to join scouts when I was there, somehow this doesn't seem convincing. Dream, dare, do - but with less autonomy than most cub packs [and it helps if you're called Susan].

And this is cited as a good example of a slogan - "Neff: Nefficiency". Um, guys, it just sounds like you've swallowed the first half of the vowel sound. Which makes it seem like are the ultimate in inefficiency.

Other bad [cited as good] slogans include:
- Range Rover: It's how the smooth take the rough. Anyone else thinking of goings-on in the back when parked in a lay-by? Just me then?
- Adjustamatic Beds: For the rest of your life. Because A. you're old and decrepit and going to die soon anyway, or B. Because our beds will swallow you up as you sleep.
- The Economist: Free enterprise with every issue. There's going to be some disappoint Star Trek fans. And wasn't there a ferry called that? Didn't it sink?
- Cheese Council: Anyway you please it, cheese it. This one is simply worrying.
- Hyundai: From chips to ships. They own McCain?
- Safeway: Everything you want from a store, and a little bit more. The little bit more being, technically, stuff your don't actually want.
But pretty much any slogan that uses "you" leaves itself open to some sarcastic response. How does the advertiser know what I want? But I don't want that.

But then the following demonstrates the writer's mentality:
'All it leaves behind is other non-bios': Fairy Ultra. This is possibly the worst endline in the history of advertising! It's a brand manager at P&G speaking to a brand manager at the competition and it means it doesn't leave a nasty residue in the wash -- the laundry equivalent of 'no bathtub ring'. No 'housewife' could possibly understand it.

Slightly patronising? Because calling consumers thick is a great idea. A bit like saying that your products are "total crap" [Gerald Ratner, Institute of Directors, 1991. Oddly one of his current ventures neglects to mention his infamous speech or its impact. It gives the figures for 1990].

Reverting back to what I was reading when the BA ad distracted me, the NYT had this article on whether the American national anthem should be lowered in pitch [complete with hammed-up examples for the tune in both keys]. Should the anthem be dropped a few notes? No, as that would take away the pleasure gained by seeing patriotic people in pained in struggle.

Though national anthems are an odd thing anyway, aren't they? There's ours which is a bit dull, but doable. There's the French, which is full theatricality, with standards soaked in the blood of their sons. There's the German, which is a bit staid. But then the Italian is a bit like lift-music, and goes on a bit [can't easy be broken do into a swift verse and a chorus]. Midi versions can be found here. Clicking haphazardly on some of the others, and discovering that most of them sound pretty much the same, and an awful lot of them sound like hymns. No wonder most dignitaries look like they're struggling to stay awake during rounds of mutual anthem playing.

Something else: when did the term "duffer" reappear? It keeps cropping up in the oddest places. Which is strange, as it's a very Swallows and Amazons-y word.


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