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So there I was minding my own business when I came across an article on Fast Company entitled What Every CEO Can Learn From Best Buy’s (Continued) Branding Mistakes. Written by David Brier, who I know to be not only a great writer but also a branding expert.The article made reference to the new tagline the much-maligned Best Buy recently trotted out after what was surely an exhaustive 18-month odyssey. Truth be told the 18 months was spent “working to reframe the retailer’s brand proposition” and the new tagline was one item that came out of said reframing.
The new tagline for Best Buy is, wait for it “Making technology work for you.”
In his article Brier refers to the tagline as “not only tired, it is a death sentence that is bland, old, worn, uninspired and not reflective of a single strand of your customer’s aspirations.” He also, quite correctly I might add, says the tagline “reeks of “marketing speak” and “committee-itis.”
He goes on to talk about branding in general but I want to focus squarely on this horrifically bad tagline.
By the way, is it me or does the title of my article sound like a title for a new reality show? Can’t you just hear something along the lines of “Tonight on the Discovery Channel, advertising taglines or slogans are all around us and most of them serve to help a brand and inform the public. But what happens when something goes awry? Tonight at 9, it’s the premier of When Taglines Go Bad.” Cue the loud piercing female scream or shriek and an image of people running wildly through the streets.
But I digress.
The new Best Buy tagline or slogan, whatever you want to call it – and please don’t start with the “they’re not the same thing, Steve” mantra, is all the things Brier said it was but it’s also a line that one would expect to hear from a new company/new brand, not from one’s that been around as long as Best Buy has.
If they were just starting out and they unveiled this tagline, I would laud and applaud it for it would immediately tell me what they do – in a matter of speaking. It would at the very least provide me a glimpse into what’s in their DNA.
But this is Best Buy, a brand that is very well known and instantly recognised.
I will never understand why such an established brand sees the need to suddenly become Lucy Literal or Larry Literal, whatever the case may be. You’re Best Buy, we know you. Save the sales pitch. Save the educational angle. You’ve earned the right to be creative, to use an experiential tagline.
The Real Thing
Perhaps you’ve heard of a soft drink called Coca-Cola. Well when Coca-Cola first came to the attention of the public one of their first taglines was “Delicious and Refreshing.” See what they did there? Not many people knew what Coca-Cola was other than a soft drink. But their tagline immediately conveyed the benefits one would get from enjoying some. They realised they better let the consumer know right up front what Coca-Cola can do for them.
Fast forward to today’s tagline for Coca-Cola, which is “Open Happiness” and you can see the difference. Of course there have been many different taglines employed by Coca-Cola over the years but the point is this is a brand that is very well known and instantly recognised.
They know they can have some fun and put people in the moment, if you will, and utilise experiential type of wording in their tagline for the need to inform and educate has long since passed.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a freelance copywriter/blogger looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has more than 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn, or his website.
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