THE END OF THE END LINE - Remember those classic endlines of the 70s, like ’refreshes the parts’ and ’Schhh. You know who’? These days, veterans tell Harriet Green, the endline carries little weight with marketers and creat

’Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba? Vorsprung durch Technik. Tell ’em about the honey, mummy. The ultimate driving machine. Naughty but nice. For mash get Smash.

’Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba? Vorsprung durch Technik. Tell ’em about

the honey, mummy. The ultimate driving machine. Naughty but nice. For

mash get Smash.

Everybody remembers legendary endlines. The best ones are buried in our

subconscious. They’ve entered the vernacular. But each of those crackers

was devised long ago and new classics just aren’t being written any


Many practitioners believe the endline is effectively dead.

During the 90s, the gloomy theory goes, advertising has chucked away its

inheritance. Heineken ditched (but later tried to revive) the 15-year

old legend ’refreshes the parts’ in favour of ’only Heineken can do


Sekonda axed the ten-year-old ’beware of expensive imitations’ in favour

of ’time is precious’. And more recently, Nike dropped ’just do it’ for

the weaker ’I can’.

To Hamish Pringle, Saatchi & Saatchi’s marketing director, it’s like

selling the family silver. Pringle is reeling from the proposal by one

of his former clients, Commercial Union, to dump ’don’t make a drama out

of a crisis’, following its move to a new agency.

Pringle blames inexperienced marketers. ’It makes me really angry when

thirtysomething marketing directors change famous endlines. The best of

these are incredibly important assets. Dropping them screws up the

agency and eventually the brand.’

Gerry Moira, creative director at Publicis, agrees. ’One of the great

forgotten skills in advertising is consistency. We are not living

through a vintage time with endlines. They don’t get time to become


Agencies get bored with them and clients have a ’not invented here’


But it’s not all the fault of on-the-make marketers or dilettante


Some gems of yesteryear have actually been banned. ’Good food costs less

at Sainsbury’s’ was disallowed by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance

Centre. It’s replacement? ’Fresh food. Fresh ideas.’

Media fragmentation, too, has taken a toll. In the 70s, a single,

60-second spot in the middle of the Sweeney was enough to drive your

line into the national consciousness. That’s why ’Beanz Meanz Heinz’,

’drink a pinta milka day’ or ’Schhh. You know who’ remain vivid to an

entire generation which was only seven years old the last time they


Nowadays you need a whacking spend to register at all. ’It’s good to

talk’ may be the most recognisable endline of recent years - but that’s

largely because BT has spent lavishly on getting it across. Yet the

search for perfect lines continues. Andrew Cracknell, chairman and

executive creative director of Ammirati Puris Lintas, explains: ’Three

things occupy more time in an agency than anything else - leaving cards,

the location of the Christmas party and the endline. Whole campaigns

have been held up because the line isn’t right. Good ideas are killed

off in a corridor by middle management because the line isn’t


Patrick Collister, Ogilvy & Mather’s executive creative director,

confirms this. After the recent Guinness pitch, O&M eventually lost to

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (and its unfashionably powerful line, ’good

things come to those who wait’). ’There were awful fights about the

endline,’ says Collister.

’They’re bloody difficult to do, and to sell internally.’

Dave ’ ’ello Tosh’ Trott, creative partner at Walsh Trott Chick Smith,

spells out the endline’s function: ’An endline is to deliver a USP or

branding. If you love my commercial you shouldn’t be able to repeat to

anyone else what it’s about without mentioning the name of the product

and what the ad is saying. It is not there for mood, or tone of voice,

or to attract a new generation of users. If you have a five-year idea,

that’s your endline.’

Robert Campbell, creative partner at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, calls

endlines ideas. ’I don’t think they’re good if they’re just


They must mean something. They can be a useful centre of gravity for a


But that is not to say they need to be spoken. ’If you look at Helen

Mirren and Terence Stamp for Virgin UpperClass, the endline is obvious:

’It’s a simple business decision.’ But it’s unwritten. We didn’t use it

because it would be too in your face.’

Moira agrees: ’Endlines are a very good place to start. It’s a very good

discipline for writing TV scripts: you know how you are going to resolve

it. But they are not essential.’

In fact, successful advertisers can manage without them. Renault’s

long-running ’Nicole and Papa’ campaign never carried a line, and Levi’s

was considered too cool to bash consumers over the head with a


Recently, Rover has scrapped the line in its TV commercials after four

years of fiddling about. KMM’s ’above all it’s a Rover’ became ’relax’

when the account moved to APL. Cracknell believes that if you can’t come

up with the perfect endline you shouldn’t reach for second best. ’People

feel naked without it (but) that’s just using up screen time or another

blob at the bottom of the page.’

In the old days, according to Collister, there were two schools of


One, spawned at Collett Dickenson Pearce, treated the endline as the

idea, and ’you then executed the hell out of it, like Heineken’. The

other, favoured by BMP, was to start not with an endline but with

strong, consistent visuals, ’branded property in the advertising’. For

instance, Hofmeister’s George the Bear or the Arkwright character for

John Smith’s.

Similarly, there are two types of line. ’One is the summation of the

campaign, an advertising line like ’for mash get Smash’.’ The other is a

’corporate positioning statement which runs everywhere - not just in


It’s easier to make the first sort entertaining. ’When the endline is

just a description of your advertising, there is plenty of scope for wit

and humour.’

Which is probably why most corporate endlines are far from fun. Some

sound more like a rallying cry for staff than a call to consumers. Think

of Tesco’s ’every little helps’, British Airways’ ’the world’s favourite

airline’ or British Rail’s ’we’re getting there’.

And a catchy, easily translatable endline can be invaluable in a

pan-European campaign. Rainey Kelly dreamed up ’quality is a right not a

privilege’ for the Vauxhall Astra. Says Campbell: ’It can be translated

for 20 countries.

It’s not a pun, it makes sense. Across markets it brings huge


It called to order what could have been a Euro-vision song contest

disaster.’ Ford, too, is working on a line for a pan-European campaign

to describe ’Fordness’.

So what makes a good endline? In endline heaven, weird is good as long

as it addresses the issue. Says Cracknell: ’The ones that stick out tend

to be slogans written in the public language. There has to be rhythm or

a rhyme or a quirkiness in the line that catches the ear.’

Hence the success of ’it’s a lot less bovver than a hover’, ’Vorsprung

durch Technik’ and ’Beanz Meanz Heinz’.

But Trott cautions against using rhymes for the sake of it. He devised ’

’ello Tosh’ to ram home the name of what was then a little-known brand,

Toshiba. Repeating the name made it appear a credible competitor to


But ’because it was successful’, he says, ’everyone thought they needed

lines that rhymed. So they came up with ’scream for cream’ or ’slam in

the lamb’. But that didn’t work, because getting people to know the name

of the product was not the issue for these products.’

Trott believes agencies have lost the knack of creating brilliant

endlines: ’People don’t start with an endline any more,’ he complains,

’and that’s like driving a car backwards. You don’t see where you are

going, you just lurch from one ad to the next. An endline is not the

most important part of an ad, but it is the first part. And it’s the

most important part of a five- or ten-year campaign.’

To illustrate his point, Trott identifies an ad created without a line:

Vauxhall Astra’s ’babies’ commercial. ’I was with six people who saw it

and four didn’t have a clue what it was for. The best you can say is

that Tony Kaye made a really nice piece of film. But it’s not an


According to Trott, the dearth of endlines can be blamed on planners and

young, prize-hungry creatives. ’Planners care not about branding your

product but understanding the market. They think they must do an ad the

market likes. What hasn’t occurred to them is that we are in the process

of selling products.’

Meanwhile, young creatives are more in love with awards than selling

brands: ’Everybody thinks endlines are old-fashioned and cheesy - that

they’re something for the punters not for the Grosvenor House.’


Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet - Hamlet

Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach - Heineken

Beanz Meanz Heinz - Heinz Baked Beans

It’s a lot less bovver than a hover - Qualcast

The ultimate driving machine - BMW


You know when you’ve been tangoed - Orange Tango

Just do it - Nike

It’s good to talk - BT

Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for any other lager - Castlemaine XXXX

Who would you most like to have a One 2 One with? - One 2 One


It talks your language - Renault Megane

Because I’m worth it - L’Oreal

Welcome to the world - Fanta

The airline for Europe - British Midland

More than just a bank - NatWest


An essential British company. Piping gas for you - Transco

A company from over here that’s also doing rather well over there -


Together we make some alliance - Sun Alliance

For all our tomorrows - BP