Cablevision's Motto

US Airways motto: Show me the money!

AT&T Our Motto is we love to lie and steal!!!!

Darcars motto - F you

In boardrooms across America, the best and the brightest corporate minds spend countless hours trying to come up with the perfect slogan for their corporations. In courtrooms across America, the best and the brightest lawyers earn countless dollars suing those corporations. All across America, the best and brightest consumers suffer countless disappointments from false representations of those corporations sued by those lawyers.

A good consumer buys an iPhone that is pledged to do everything from finding restaurants to teaching guitar chords. The phone ends up giving wrong directions and messing up the arpeggio.

A good Mom, charmed by the images of happy, healthy children enjoying Nutella for breakfast, buys the spread, which in reality contains 70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight.

Another good consumer pays a premium price for supposedly higher quality Poland Spring bottled water, which happens to be heavily treated water taken from common ground rather than actual spring water.

Three lawsuits right here. Consumers are doing the right thing, companies are losing business, lawyers are happy. Wouldn’t it be better if consumers were happy, companies were doing the right thing and lawyers were losing business?

We want to trust the merchants – their products, their mottos, their ads. We want them to be honest with us. We don’t expect them to confess: “we are not here to help people, we are here to make money for the company“. We know that already. But at least don’t make your money by making fools of us. Choose your words very carefully when developing slogans.

The best and the brightest corporate minds are actually very careful with their slogans, crafting the language to be vague and ambiguous, so they can't possibly be sued for misleading advertising. There are no lawsuits for corporate slogans that are complete meaningless gibberish. While misleading, it’s still better than deliberate lie.

Let’s imagine that companies are totally honest with us. Their sales would more than likely plummet, but it would be refreshing to hear them say what we think.

-         “We suck. Don’t buy from us.”  No, that’s too much. We want honest, not idiotic. Like, “We suck. Just kidding.” It’s up to us to decide if they are kidding about their suckiness or all they usually do is kidding with customers, and this sucks. By the way, the greatest sucky slogan is “Nothing sucks like Electrolux.” Funny, witty, universal (and it rhymes). If your vacuum works fine – we told ya. If it does not – we warned ya.

-         Revealing proprietary information about the product is not necessary. It is also clever and safe. Just say something vague. Just say something. “Just do it!” This Nike motto has been confusing the running nation for a while. Only the best and the brightest consumers understand what exactly they are forced to do. Which is “Just buy it”. So the honest slogan we would like to see is “Just do It! Buy the freaking shoe already!”

-         Another “to do” motto: “Always Do The Right Thing”, courtesy of BP, also has nothing to do with the product (smart). Actually, it is “Just do it” taken up a notch. “IT” becomes “the right thing” that needs to be done not JUST but ALWAYS. Or maybe they imply that THEY always do the right thing? In this case, after that little spill thingy in Gulf of Mexico, the right thing to do is to change the tagline. How about “Spill, Baby, Spill”? Or “Oil and water do mix”? Or simply - “Our Bad”.

-         Remember the iPhone plaintiff? Rather than keeping his expectations as high as the phone’s price, they should add some honesty and uncertainty to the slogan. “New iPhone– ALMOST everything you want for more than you want to pay”. The court case might’ve been avoided. Words like ALMOST serve as perfect liability coverage. Like “Carlsberg: PROBABLY the best beer in the world”. Honest, humble, no lawsuit. Probably.

-         When a motto contains allegations of consumer’s nature, it should somehow relate to the product. Diet Coke declared “You are what you drink”.  The honest announcement should be “If you drink Diet Coke, you are aspartylphenylalanine, formaldehyde, and phosphoric acid”.

-         Using paradox statements makes motto illogical and thus untrustworthy. Like “Less is More” of Charmin Ultra. Less is unlikely to be more. When it comes to toilet paper, “Less is more disgusting”.

-         “Save Money, Live Better” seems like a nice deal from Wal-Mart. Except, “live better” means not having to save money. Why don’t they honestly say “Shop at Wal-Mart. You really don’t have a choice anymore.”

-         Once upon a time McDonalds claimed “Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value (Q.S.C. & V.)” Ambitious, enigmatic, outdated. Nowadays they could be easily sued for any of Q, S, C, and possibly V. So they came up with a long succession of punch lines. Quite recent “Love to see you smile” was already assuming a sarcastic smile. The newest “I’m lovin’ it” created a big “healthy living” controversy. Not to be sued for, though. If you’re not lovin’ it – you’re not eatin’ it. But we still would like to see an honest slogan. Like, “With every artery-clogging bite, I’m lovin’ it”. Or, “We have salads, but that's not why you're here!” Or, “I'm burpin' it!”

-         Facebook has a pretty cool motto “Read. Watch. Listen.” For ultimate honesty they should add “Spy. Misuse. Invade.” As an honest warning – “Everyone wants to know what you ate for lunch”. Twitter should take it further – “Let everyone know what you ate for lunch and why”. But the most honest Twitter motto would be “Quick, type something you'll regret”.

The best and the brightest corporate minds think about consumer. Not all consumers are the best and the brightest. Some are dumb, dirty-minded, perverted or juvenile. With a provocative ad “The more you play with it the harder it gets” Sega Genesis attracted male teenagers and lonely joystick-playing adults living in mom’s basement. The catch line was pretty successful. The immoral implication made it more honest. Considering consumer’s filthy mind, it would be not a bad idea to cross-brand existing boring slogans. A company motto referencing, for example, Viagra, can be good for the company.  How about that:

-         “Viagra, the quicker picker upper” (alongside Bounty),

-         “Viagra, we bring good things to life” (in cooperation with General Electric),

-         “Viagra, reach out and touch someone” (on behalf of AT&T).
Whatever you call it – motto, slogan, tagline, catchphrase, bait – it should be appetizing. And possibly sincere. And better not sue-able.
The best and the brightest consumers deserve honesty. And respect. And a good product behind a good motto.