Monday, 29 December 2008

It's Water off a Duck's Back to Me.

Product: Evian Mineral Water
Slogan: "L'evian. Live Young"
Suggested Alternative: "As Good as Water Gets"

Bottled mineral water is probably the greatest scam of our time. It's difficult not to have respect for whoever is responsible for the marketing miracle of getting people to pay rather highly for something that they could quite easily obtain practically for free. Yes, there are things added to tap water, but you can always buy a water filter for your home if it bothers you that much. Bottled water should really only be necessary for emergency use, such as disaster relief and stocking nuclear bunkers.

That rant over, on to the slogan. Firstly, I'm not really sure about the use of a thick French accent to try to make the name of the product to sound like 'live young'; it sounds forced and extremely cheesy.

It's also difficult to make an association between youth and the consumption of mineral water. Personally, I'd associate youth with alcohol and fizzy pop, and mineral water with middle-aged health nuts. I guess I have a grudge against the health-conscious, since frankly I'd rather enjoy my food and drink than live a life of miserable blandness, but try explaining that to the self-righteous pastel-coloured-tracksuit brigade, and you'll get naught but a patronising look and a selection of chickpea recipes for your trouble.

For the conspiracy theorists, have you ever noticed that "Evian" spelt backwards is "Naive"? I'd love to believe that the name was chosen because of this, as an homage to the sort of people who waste their money on this stuff, but sadly it actually derives from its purported place of origin.

So yes... annoying product, annoying slogan, annoying consumers. I'm off to re-fill my glass of tap water.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Slogans Are Good For You!

Product: Vicks VapoRub
Slogan: "People Not Symptoms"
Suggested Alternative: N/A. I need to figure out what this means before I can make any attempt to correct it.

So... what? It doesn't cure the symptoms? They aren't important any more? The symptoms are the reason people buy this stuff, guys.

I have struggled over this one over the last half hour or so, trying to work out what it's really meant to imply. It strikes me that there are a few words missing from the beginning of the sentence, but I can't think of anything satisfactory to fit. "We cure people not symptoms" makes no sense, as if you cure the person but leave the symptoms intact, you can barely be said to have done anything at all. "We care about people not symptoms" would clearly be biting the hands that feed them, since they only make any money thanks to disease-causing organisms. "Our products benefit people not symptoms" just seems too obvious to bother with.

Having just checked the Vicks website for the correct format of this slogan, I realised that they couldn't even be bothered to put a comma in it. Every punctuation mark you leave out of a slogan is another nail in your coffins as far as I'm concerned.

Product: Dolmio
Slogan: "When'sa Your Dolmio Day?"
Suggested Alternative: "Pseudo-Italian Name, Pseudo-Italian Taste!"

Yes, that's right, they actually write it like that. It seems inconceivable to me that such a blatant (albeit mild) racial slur can find its way into the world of advertising these days, but there it is. Dolmio are obviously very brave. This is further substantiated by the fact that they put the phrase "best ever" in quotation marks three times on the frontpage of their website. If there's anything to make me suspicious about a product, it's the claim that it features it's 'best ever' taste.

The same page also claims that Dolmio products are made from "100% Good Honest Ingredients". So you can rest assured that none of those shipments of contraband tomatoes we keep hearing about are finding their way into these pasta sauces.

So, when is your Dolmio day? Does anyone actually have a day on which they religiously consume only Dolmio products? We're also expected to believe that a family of food-loving Italians do this. If so, I think that their Dolmio day consists of what can only be called "slumming it".

Their website also, for some reason, features a page of "tips for looking young", including the following:

"Here's a handy exercise tip – workout without even knowing it. When you're shopping, walk up the escalator instead of just standing there. It'll keep you fitter and give you even more shopping time!"

Ah, I see! So all of those people pushing their way past me on the escalators weren't being rude, they were taking an admirable responsibility for their health and well being!

"Dip into your fridge for facial cleansers if you run out. Buttermilk, yogurt and even cream are gentle, natural skin cleansers."

Yes, go ahead and smear your body with dairy products. Serves you right for taking beauty advice from bloody DOLMIO. At least they aren't advocating rubbing a tomato and basil sauce into your skin.

And in their self-promoting, but admittedly more orthodox cooking tips section:

"DOLMIO® Stir-In sauces are perfect for turning an average meal for two into a great one."

Assuming that the "average meal for two" consists of plain boiled pasta, then yes!

If your little ones love sweet food, why not add grapes or sultanas to their favourite DOLMIO® sauce instead of olives or peppers?"

Because they will hate you forever. Mmmm, grape puttanesca!

(By the way, "Dolmio" is an entirely meaningless word made up to 'sound italian'. Make of this what you will.)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Next Time, It'll Just Be "AARGH"!

Product: Peperami
Slogan: "Peperami: It's a Bit of an Animal"
Suggested Alternative: "Eat First. Read Ingredients List Later."

Kudos for the ingenious portmanteau of "pepperoni" and "salami" in the name of this product. The slogan itself is more unfortunate than bad. It may be a bit of an animal, but which bit? Frankly, this is one of those snacks you can only really enjoy if you can take your mind off the fact that it's probably made of the 'bits of animals' that were left over after making everything else. I can't help but love the damned things though...

Product : Vauxhall Corsa
Slogan : "C'MON!"
Suggested Alternative : "Why not buy a Vauxhall Corsa? They're Really Quite Good."

Plucked from one of my most hated adverts in recent years, this slogan barely qualifies as a word, let alone a sentence. It's probably the most ambiguous and pointless slogan I have ever heard. It doesn't refer to the quality of the product. It doesn't refer to the product at all. It doesn't even sound particularly positive, especially when screamed by a deformed soft toy with a hideously distorted voice. Even the chants invented by football supporters are better than this. At least they have the sense to append "you blues!" to the phrase. (The only two football teams in the world are still 'The Reds' and 'The Blues', right?)

And come where, precisely?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Start Your Day With a Healthy Breakfast, and an Unhealthy Lunch.

Product : Coco Pops
Suggested Alternative : "DO AS YOU'RE TOLD, YOU MUG!"

Seriously, this is the problem with advertising today. Instead of approaching us with a friendly, helpful suggestion of how to make a popular breakfast cereal into a snack to warm the cockles of your heart at wintertime ("Why not try them with hot milk?"), we are addressed in the manner of a cockney skinhead. You can almost hear the quiet, menacing growl as he holds you up against the wall by your neck, his other hand *probably* containing some kind of loaded firearm. "TRY 'EM WITH HOT MILK!" He demands, as you hand over your wallet and keys. I mean, why do they feel the need to drop the "th" in "them"? Are children really so impressionable these days that they even read with a speech impediment? All that's needed to make this an absolute classic among bad slogans is the word "Kidz". And possibly a flick-knife for the monkey.


Product: McDonald's
Slogan : "I'm Lovin' It"
Suggested Alternative : "Cheaper than Burger King and the Less Discerning Kids Won't Know the Difference!"

Nine letters. Two apostrophes. First of all, who's "I"? Justin Timberlake? I don't think I value that man's opinion particularly highly, given the bilge he pumps out under the guise of 'music'. Second of all, disregarding the ugly abbreviation, the verb "to love" is almost never used in the present tense. Surely if they wanted something quick and vacuous, "I love it" is only seven letters and at the very least grammatically sound. It avoids that horrid, horrid apostrophe too. Surely a corporation as big as McDonald's could come up with something better than Engrish as recited by a council estate bully.