Category Archives: Slogans

Top Marketing Fails [SlideShare]

Many companies find that their marketing message gets “lost in translation” during international ad campaigns

It can happen to anyone. You’re having a conversation with someone from another part of the country – or maybe even from another nation entirely, and you say something that really makes him or her gasp. What an odd reaction, you say; until you realize that what you were trying to say didn’t translate with the intended meaning. Major corporations around the world have also encountered these types of communication failures – the kind that cause marketing managers to shake their heads in disbelief and customers to question the motives of those in charge of the ads.

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Sometimes, marketing issues arise due to an incorrect translation between an English-speaking company and their international audience. Just ask Pepsi. Their international campaign targeted at the Republic of China touted that “Pepsi brings you back to life!” In China, this translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” It is curious that a company as large and savvy as Pepsi wouldn’t ask for a consultation from a Chinese language or culture expert before launching a major ad campaign that promised to resurrect the dead.

Other companies have suffered similar marketing failures, especially those who have tried to jump all over the popularity of newsworthy world events. Kenneth Cole, the great, Brooklyn-based purveyor of trendy clothes and fashion accessories, decided to piggyback on the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 by tweeting “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online — KC.” With people dying in the streets and a nation facing severe political unrest, it was obviously considered in bad taste to make light of such a serious situation.

Several other companies, from Chevrolet to Gerber Baby Food, have committed catastrophic faux pas through a variety of marketing campaigns. Many marketing fails have resulted in absolutely hilarious situations – some of them providing lessons and insights into international customs and traditions that don’t end up aligning with Western marketing ploys. Others have emerged as truly insensitive or narrow-minded marketing activities that have tarnished the reputation of several well-known companies.

Whatever the result, there is a seemingly endless list of companies who have committed serious marketing fails over the past few decades. Here is a SlideShare of eight of the top marketing failures that demonstrate just how easy it is for an honest marketing message to get lost in translation – or for a company to offend millions via a simple Tweet.


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Sample Tag Lines

Sometimes it is difficult to come up with a unique slogan to suit your company. Fortunately, some local business can get away with using slogans that are unique to their city, but not their industry. These tag lines help inform customers why they should go with your company and help them remember you. Here are a few of these types of tag lines.

Lawn Care:
• We work hard on your yard so you don’t have to!
• The grass is always greener…on your side!
• Your lawn is my business.

Real Estate:
• Sell or Buy – we can help you do both!
• Helping first-time buyers find a HOME.
• Why rent when you can own?

Plumbers:
• Need a plumber right now? We won’t make you wait.
• Plumbing Emergency? Call us 24/7
• Stop running and call us.

Construction:
• Quality work at a fair price.
• On Time…On Budget…Our Promise!

Optometrist:
• We see things clearly.
• Visualize the savings.

Hairstylists:
• A cut above.
• Always on the cutting edge.

Brake Shops:
• It’s time to take a “brake.”
• Give your car a “brake.”

Tailors:
• If you’re falling apart at the seams, we’re here to take you in.
• We can help you out in a stitch.

Insurance Brokers:
• We’ve got you covered.
• Coverage you can count on.

Dog Groomers:
• See us before things get hairy.
• We’re for the dogs.

All Industries:
• Serving the community for over 25 years.
• Quality service at the best price.
• Now taking appointments online
• We won’t make you wait.

Whatever you decide on for a tag line, remember to include it in all of your promotional materials to help it stick in the minds of your customers.

What are some successful tag lines you have used to promote your company?

Creating a Slogan That Sticks

Do you still remember the cute old lady asking “where’s the beef?” That was one catchy slogan. It outlived the brand’s use of the slogan, just like “I’m Going To Disneyland.” An effective slogan can mean the difference between an advertisement being seen and being remembered. Here are some tips to help make your own “Got Milk?” or other timeless tag line.

Associative. Your tag line should represent your product or service in only a few words. The main benefit of what you are offering should somehow be invoked. “Maybe she’s born with it…Maybe it’s Maybelline,” emphasizes the natural beauty brought out with their make up brand.

Differentiating. Let people know the difference between your brand and the competition. “The quicker picker-upper,” says “these towels will clean up your mess faster than the other guys.”

Simple. The most effective slogans are short and sweet. Witty is good, but humor is subjective and frequently just cliché. “Be all you can be,” says a ton in only five short words.

Emotion. Invoke emotion or need in consumers. How many times have you said, “Can you hear me now?” on a phone with a bad connection? Hearing someone confidently say “good” after the question makes us feel good.

Sticky. The slogan needs to be memorable and maintain freshness. Anything trendy will not work in the long run and anything forgettable isn’t worth your money. “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs,” is engrained in everyone’s minds though this line hasn’t been used for years.

Remember these tricks when making a slogan and you’ll be sure to create a memorable image that lasts.

What’s your favorite company slogan? Have you created a successful tagline for your company?

Photo courtesy of nomad73