When Used Wisely, Words Are Powerful.

Since when are taglines the most horrid part of already bad advertising?
I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know I’m looking at two lines that are in contention for AdPulp’s new “Crap on a Stick” award.

  • Wal-Mart — Save Money. Live Better.
  • Sears — Life. Well Spent.

Yes, yes, I get that people want desperately to save money on basic purchases. But a tagline is not a campaign strategy. It’s meant to be a flourish. A big fat brushstroke of color. A poetic clincher. But we don’t have anything like that above. Instead we have two vague but competing notions about living a quality life as a result of value shopping.
Some traditional ways one goes about living a quality life: making time for your kids’ after school activities; long walks on the beach; annual trips to Napa; cultivating an organic garden; motoring about in an antique Chris Craft; playing in a rock band; frying just-caught brook trout over an open fire; and reading all of F. Scott Fitzgeralds books.
Shopping at Sears or Wal-Mart has absolutely nothing to do with a life well lived. Saying that it does makes me dislike the brands in question. These two need to focus on price exclusively. The philosophical territory they’ve entered is no place for poseurs.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://www.bullshitobserver.com Todd

    Hear hear.
    Safeway’s tagline is “Ingredients for life.” I think when a writer uses the word “life” in the tagline, that’s an instant indicator that it will suck. Whatever you’re sellin’, it ain’t a big enough deal to use the word “life.”

  • http://blog.operator-speaking.com/ Zachary Constantine

    Inverse holds true: I’d buy any brand that used “zombie” in its tagline.