Next to dreaming up new corporate identity names - Consignia,
Invensys, Accenture, etc - I've always thought the hardest job in our
business is coming up with slogans and taglines. How do you capture the
essence of a brand, its positioning and its whole being in one short
sentence, or sometimes not even a sentence? It's got to be short, catchy
and relevant. But should it merely repeat the point of the ad, or should
it go a little further?
And that's before you even get to the internal politics and wrangling
that must take place before a line is approved. Not everyone will wish
to offer an opinion on a piece of creative work, but they sure as hell
will when it comes to the slogan.
The best (BMW, Tesco, Heineken, Hamlet, Ronseal) are under-appreciated
works of genius. The bad ones are terrible. This week we have two new
ones to consider from the Coca-Cola stable. One, for Coke, is 'Life
tastes good', which I think we can safely say is from the
let's-hammer-the-point-home-in-case-they-don't-get-the-ad school. It's
bland, vacuous and generic. Does Coke seriously believe in a phrase that
could apply to dozens of other products, let alone competitors? The best
that can be said is that it's positive and upbeat, in the same
relentlessly cheery manner of Coke's advertising, but I suspect the
clammy hand of a nervous Atlanta marketing department in this one.
Diet Coke's tagline is, depending on your point of view, either totally
meaningless or pregnant with possibility. On its own, 'How it is' says
nothing and adds nothing. Allied to the new campaign, however, it is
capable of virtually any meaning the target market wishes to place on
it. That's because, unlike its predecessor (the late, lamented Hunk
series), the new ads are rooted in reality, not fantasy.
The new ads are also significant because they mark the launch of parent
Coca-Cola's much-vaunted locally driven ad strategy, in which different
Coke brands in different countries are allowed or, if you believe the
PR, encouraged to discard the diktats of Atlanta and do what's right for
the British market. This may well explain, what is for Diet Coke, the
radical decision to embrace slice-of-life.
Of course, when I say slice-of-life I don't mean gritty reality as
experienced by its target market of twentysomething, singleton women. I
mean slice-of-life as seen through the media prism's view of this
stereotype, ie Bridget Jones, Cold Feet and Smack the Pony. In this
world, the Diet Coke drinker is humorous and confident,accompanied at
all times (except when she's chasing the man of her dreams) by her best
mates with whom she shares everything.
At the same time she's also insecure (particularly about her weight) and
neurotic. These are Girls Who Just Want to Have Fun (Especially With Her
Mates Jude And Shazza) except when they're Girls Who Just Want a Man
In terms of strategy this is spot-on, but executionally it makes the
campaign slightly schizoid. In one ad, man and woman are in a
Man asks: 'Is it all right if I call you?' Girl whips out pen, writes
number on paper tablecloth; adds work, mobile, fax, pager, best
friend's, mum's numbers. Girl then tears tablecloth in half and presents
to open-mouthed man. 'So call me,' she says. Casting, pace, acting,
script - all spot on. It made several Campaign staff laugh out loud. In
another ad, our three heroines tease and taunt a hapless park-keeper.
It's funny-odd, not funny-haha.
First ad: v.v. good, positive thoughts 1; second ad: v.v. odd, slightly
offputting for a bloke.
Dead cert for a Pencil? Come on, this is Coca-Cola.
Will it work? Diet Coke and Bridget Jones. I should coco.
What would the chairman's wife say? Who wants Bridget. Bring back the