WOLFBITES - Issue 21

Fuelled by Fans or It's all good
Which company tagline is the best execution of a branding strategy?

Packaging with a tagline admired by Toronto freelance writer Wolfgang Franke, who is also president of a small business advertising agency in Markham, Ontario.
By any measure, McCain's new tagline (upper left corner) is all good.

It's been a long time since I have seen a tagline as good as this example of brilliant advertising creative for McCain foods: It's all good.

First, I love the elegant simplicity: just three words and, equally important, just three beats. No multiple syllabic words. That means it is easy to say and even easier to remember. Perfect.

Next, note the strong, clear promise of benefit: McCain is telling us the food it sells is good. Better still, there is no holding back, no watered down promise, no lawyered editing, which would have given us this line: It's mostly all good.

It's also obvious that the writer of this company tag line has a good ear for how people talk. She (he?) avoids the artificial word arrangements that sink most business tag lines and instead gives us a colloquial phrase, which is to say the phrase is used in daily conversation. If you haven't used the term "It's all good", someone you know used that term. Colloquial language works because it hits our ear gently. Non-colloquial language fails because it does just the opposite.

There are many colloquial phrases. The challenge is to find the one that fits your marketing and branding objectives. McCain needed to fight the perception that some of its products were not good for you. That raises a lot of complex issues and challenges and you might conclude that no single company tagline could answer every issue, but the tagline "It's all good" does the job.

One other thing: the very best tag lines for companies actually have more than one meaning and each meaning is positive. "It's all good" can be taken literally – everything McCain produces tastes "good", but it can also be taken to mean that everything McCain does is "good." Love it.

Huge kudos to the copywriter who came up with "It's all good" tag line.

Screen cap of company with a tagline not admired by Toronto freelance copywriter, who specializes in small business advertising, includig social media advertising, web advertising and video marketing.
SportsNet has a new tag line,
Fuelled by Fans, but you won't find it
on the company's home page.

Now let's look at the new tag line for Sportsnet, Fuelled by Fans. It was introduced as part of a massive rebranding campaign across all the Sportsnet brands.

On some levels the tag line works. It's short and simple: three words, three beats. I also like that they focused on the fans, not the network. I can just imagine someone standing up in a creative brief meeting and shouting: It's about the fans, stupid!

The use of alliteration (using two words starting with the same letter) is also a plus.

But then we run into some problems, mainly relating to the phrasing. Have you ever heard anyone, and I mean anyone, say the phrase "Fuelled by Fans"? No. So that means the line is not colloquial and that, in turn, means it will not be easy to remember, even with heavy promotion.

I also wonder about the focus and the lack of any promise of benefit. Fuelled by Fans is focused on the process of delivering sports, not the result (enjoying watching your favorite teams win).

And where is the passion? Fans don't consume sports the same way they consume packaged goods. (Have you ever seen someone cheer about the purchase of a quart of milk?). Fans have an emotional connection with their teams. They cheer, they shout, they boo. They feel great when their team wins (that's why they watch) and they feel bad when their team fails. I don't see any of that passion in "Fuelled by Fans". It's just not fantastic.

Read Wolfgang's latest marketing blog.

Full service Canadian marketing and advertising agency in Toronto for copywriting, graphic design, business to business, sales collateral, selling tips and new ways to advertise for small business, family business, distributors, manufacturers and wholesalers in Canada and the U.S.

Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.

Mini WolfBites 6

Ignorance about the role – and value – of a tag line is the most common reason why so many tag lines are hopelessly bad.

A few years back, the good folks who market Las Vegas thought they could expand their market by transforming the world's sin capital into a family friendly attraction. This all-things-to-all-people was a complete disaster and Las Vegas returned to its roots with marketing perfectly summed up by this tag line: what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

Proven advertising and marketing results – delivered by project, outsourcing or retainer.
Prices: less than you would expect.   Results: more than you can imagine

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