Taglines: March 2009 Archives

Wartime Slogan "Carries On" as Modernized Tagline

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carry-on-slogan.gifA sixty-year-old wartime poster is now gracing the walls of the US embassy in Belgium and will likely appear on a t-shirt near you soon.

The poster reads "Keep Calm and Carry On" and its affiliated web site is selling reproductions by the tens of thousands.

One academic says that it appeals to people in these troubled times because "It is a quiet, calm, authoritative, no-bullshit voice of reason."

Another blogger sees it as a work of "genius," while others are having a bit of fun with it.

Boing Boing has posted a response that reads "Get Excited and Make Stuff."

Other motivational variations include "No More Boom and Bust" and "Keep Calm and Carry On Shopping."

While some are even becoming a bit edgy with t-shirts that read, "Now Panic and Freak Out" and "Drink Beer and Carry On."

Yet there are still those that wonder if keeping calm is really the thing to do when things go wrong.

I like this slogan because of the faint resonance between calm and on and the simple graphics behind it.

Yes, Americans don't really use the phrase "carry on" (except when it comes to airplane luggage), but it is exactly what we need to do nowadays. We need to all take a deep breath and just get on with it.

winston-churchill.gifThe British used to be the masters of "carrying on" and showing a stiff upper lip when thinks got kind of crazy.

I am specifically reminded of Winston Churchill flatly saying that he would "keep buggering on" through his so called Wilderness Years in the 1930s when his political career seemed finished. He even shortened it to KBO when responding to any major setback with a gruff: "Right. KBO."

Phrases often fall out of favor, but sometimes those ones that really resonate manage to make a comeback. This particular one has found its way to the office door of at least one of my colleagues.

A "cool reminder of what's past is prologue."

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Wisconsin's new slogan is catching some criticism for the fact that we've seen it before. Often, very often.

wisconsinlogo.gif"Live like you mean it" is a phrase that's been used by hundreds of motivational speakers and a bevy of authors, and its been used "to promote real estate, clothing, and other merchandise," and Bacardi.

bacardilivelikeyoumeanit.gifRegardless, one has to wonder why our Wisconsin neighbor would choose a generic slogan? Bloggers are already showing their discontent, making fun of the logo that features a man doing a handstand.

This slogan replaces "Life's So Good" and the state's tourism secretary says, "The silhouetted figure cartwheeling across the top of Wisconsin really speaks to the invitation to live and work and play here... and 'Live like you mean it' speaks to the fact that if you can imagine it, you can do it in Wisconsin. It was chosen for its energy."

I can imagine a picnic alongside one of Wisconsin's beautiful lakes and water-skiing in January, but don't think doing it is that realistic. The point is that some of the rationale for the name defies common sense.

At least one resident says that this slogan is "bordering on a cliché," while yet another blogger says that the handstand man does not reflect the "fiercely proud, hardworking and loyal people" that the governor wanted represented in the work.

With the unique beauty of Wisconsin I have to pose the question once again, why would it saddle itself with a generic slogan? It is an opportunity missed by our next door neighbor.

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Bill Lozito

William Lozito

President and Chief Branding Officer

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SyFy Naming From A Galaxy Far, Far away...

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I often wonder if brand naming and product naming conventions in the TV world are somehow in a parallel universe to my own.

syfylogo.gifToday's news that the Sci Fi Channel has changed its name to SyFy, effective July 7, 2009, has added to my confusion. The channel's name change also comes with a new slogan: "Imagine Greater," which seems to be a little nonsensical. It reads like a clumsily translated phrase of Yoda's making.

The change was initiated by executives who complained that the Sci Fi Channel name was too vague and generic - so generic, in fact, that they could not trademark the word.

In addition, it had acquired a negative viewer stereotype that made those who may be interested in the channel's programming actually avoid it. One executive summed it up by saying "The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular."

Another part of the problem was that people Googling the channel's name had to trudge though too many sites bearing the words sci-fi. Add this to the confusion around how to spell the name (Hyphen or not? One word or two?), and the name change seemed like a no-brainer.

Fair enough, but if there is a first commandment in the world of naming, it must be: "Thou shalt not confuse customers in order to be Google Friendly."

The blogosphere - which has its fair share of sci-fi fans - is not amused either, with one blogger suggesting that this might be some kind of April Fools' joke.

The change also prompted the sci-fi web site SyFy Portal (a web site that covers science fiction entertainment news) to drastically change its name to Airlock Alpha. When you visit the site you get a notice that reads "Don't worry, you're in the right place. We just had to evacuate SyFy Portal when it destabilized due to some... tachyon... quantum... spacial... something or other."

The Sci Fi Channel just came off its best year ever and faces a tough year in 2009 given the downturn in advertising spending, which leads to a couple questions that beg to be asked:

  • Will this name attract more viewers?

  • Will it expand the channel's niche?
yodaimage.gifThe short answer is that it is too soon to tell, but to somebody flipping through the TV listings, SyFy looks like, well, nothing.

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