Monday, March 8, 2010

Question: Mottomania

Everyone needs a motto. And there are some good ones. From cool Latin mottos like lux et vino and sic semper fudge, to Police Department mottos like "Making Detroit a Safer Place to Live, Work, and Visit," to the Boy Scouts' famous "be prepared," to GE's well thought out "Imagination at Work." Of course, there are crappy mottos too, like Toyota's "moving forward" (no matter what you do) and Apple's grammatically pathetic "Think Different" and Baltimore's "Believe." Yeah, and duck. What are some of your favorite or least favorite mottos?


Writer X said...

Favs: "Even a caveman can do it." Those commercials crack me up.

Worst: "Change we can believe in." I think that motto has been done to death. Put a fork in it.

USArtguy said...

Uh oh. As an ad guy, I have way too many. So here's just a few...

Some memorable ad slogans...

Packard -"Ask the man that owns one"
(No I'm not old enough to actually remember it)

Federal Express -"When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight

Wendy's - "Where's the beef?"

Barnum & Bailey Circus - The Greatest Show on Earth

Bayer works wonders

With a name like Smuckers it's got to be good

Budweiser the King of beers

Campbell's mm, mm good

Ford: Quality is job 1

Wheaties Breakfast of Champions

Keebler cookies "Uncommonly good where ever they come from"

Kodak moment

Rice Krispies Snap! Crackle! Pop!

N E S T L E S Neslte makes the very best... chocolate

Raid - Raid kills bugs dead

Schlitz ... the beer that made Milwaukee famous

7up the uncola

GE We bring good things to light.

Some I don't/didn't care for:
Have you driven a Ford lately?

Bud light "Drinkability"

The ever annoying ""He went to jared"

UPS "What can brown do for you?" (Seriously, what were they thinking?)

Not exactly a motto or slogan, but I saw this on a T Shirt that I really like:

To do is to be —Socrates
To be is to do —Plato
Do be do be do —Sinatra

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, I agree with your list. I liked "Give the world a Coke and a smile." I thought that worked really well at the time. I really liked GE's "Imagination at Work" as well. One that I thought was ultra-clever was "Every Kiss Begins With Kay" -- nice use of the company name!

On the other hand, there are many that I really don't like. I particularly dislike the one word slogans: like Acura's "Advance." Those are pretensious and meaningless.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, "Change we can believe in" is weak, and made worse by the poor quality of the product is was selling. . . ;-)

USArtguy said...

A pet peeve of mine is meaningless car names.
What's a Yaris (Toyota) or an Aveo (Chevrolet)?
Followed by the total lack of alpha-numeric creativity (BMW comes to mind).

Give me Mustang, Cougar or Galaxy any day.

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, I agree with that. How are you supposed to describe a car to someone when all you have is a number or a meaningless name? Other than the people who own one, no one remembers those "names".

MegaTroll said...

I agree about the car slogans, they don't work. The one word slogans, the two word slogans, the names that don't mean anything. I can't even tell the slogans apart.

USArtguy, I really like "the unCola".

AndrewPrice said...

I like the uncola too! And I liked their tie-in with the voodoo priest from "Live and Let Die."

Unknown said...

How about San Francisco's motto? "Oro en paz, fierro en guerra (gold in peace, iron in war)." Not bad for a city that's broke and thinks that war is something only bullies do.

The motto of the University of California is "Fiat lux." But they had to translate it into English as "Let there be light," since nobody at the university can read Latin anymore.

My favorite of all was Kaiser-Permanente's short-lived motto for their concrete and excavating division: "Find a hole and fill it." It took them about six months to realize the alternate meaning, and change it to "Find a need and fill it."

The Marine Corps' "looking for a few good men" and the Mounties "we always get our man" are both very popular as alternatives for San Francisco's secondary motto.

BevfromNYC said...

The absolute worst - "Have a happy period, Always" or the Tampax commercials "I have to wear rollerskate to keep up with her!" [Uggghhh.]

One of my favorites from my childhood -

The Campbell Soup Kids and "Mmmm, good" or "Soup is good food"

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I like the Campbell's soup motto -- it really says what it needs to say well.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I get the feeling that San Fran warps a lot of things. . . mottos included.

Joel Farnham said...

I have always liked, "Where's the beef?"

The original still gets me. :)

JB1000 said...

Dyslexics of the World – Untie

Dyslexic Agnostics of the World – There is no Dog

Solidarity Labor Union – Every Man for Himself

Tennessee Jed said...

Absolute Best (biased division): My father was in advertising. His best ad was "melts in your mouth, not in your hands."

Worst (or the best depending on how you look at it): Bob Newhart's character on one of the versions of his show was to come up with a catchy slogan for Lumberman's Casualty Reciprocal Mutual Worker's Compensation Policy for lumberjacks. The motto was "Somebody's got to insure those guys."

DCAlleyKat said...

"Dyslexics of the World – Untie

Dyslexic Agnostics of the World – There is no Dog

Solidarity Labor Union – Every Man for Himself"


DCAlleyKat said...

I'm not very fond of:

Nike - Just do it!

I have a real fondness for:

E Pluribus Unum - Out of many one

as mottos go...

USArtguy said...

Tenessee Jed, your dad was this guy ?

If so, "my father was in advertising" is a serious understatement!

Number 5 on Advertising Age's 20th century honor roll of advertising's most influential people! Wow!

Tennessee Jed said...

U.S. Artguy - No my dad was not Rosser Reeves, let alone "the Don" Draper to keep with the "Mad Men" analogy. He was more like, say, Peggy Olsen at the time. In fact, he didn't even work for that agency . The particular job was as a consultant, and, as such, completely uncredited, a practice I'm sure Peggy has more or less told you about in Mad Men dialogue. (e.g. bosses taking credit for others' work.) Even still, crediting Reeves with actually creating that phrase is somewhat analogous to crediting "W." for specifically capturing Saddam Hussein because he was commander-in-chief at the time. Had my father actually gotten credit for his creativity, I probably could still be living off the trust fund! He did his job on that one and did it well and got paid his salary.

BevfromNYC said...

I blocked this one out -

This is the ad that sent me crying to my mother -
Clairol's - "Blonds have more fun!"
My 5 year old mind interpreted that to mean that since I had black hair, I would never have any fun ;(

My mom soothed my tears with "Well, blonds may have more fun, but brunettes get married" [Eh, it was the early '60's.]

patti said...

"sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't."

USArtguy said...

Tennessee Jed

"...bosses taking credit for others' work..."

Yep. I can relate. Sigh.

Unknown said...

I'll bet you've all forgotten "I dreamed I was [fill in the blank] in my Maidenform bra."

Joel Farnham said...


You have been at San Francisco WAY TOO LONG!!!

Anonymous said...

"No matter where you go, there you are."

One I don't like, though it's been a while: "A good haircut is a good haircut."

What focus group did the Hair Cuttery pay for this little bon mot? :-)

AndrewPrice said...

I have to admit I got a real kick out of today's comments! Nice work folks!

Unknown said...

Joel: Oh, you young people. When I was a testosterone-laden young teenager, the underwear ads in the Sears Catalog and the Maidenform commercials were the closest thing to porn that most of us had access to. Playboy was brand-new, kept under wraps (literally), and films with nudity were something foreigners did.

As one of the guest characters on Taxi said to Tony (who was worried he might be gay): "It's the difference between wanting to be Kevin Costner and wanting to be with Kevin Costner." LOL

StanH said...

“Plop-plop-fizz-fizz oh what a relief it is”

My “X” father-in-law, made the add, “your in good hands will all-state,” and the American Express add I forget the phrasing but the guy was floating on a table in the ocean and sharks swimming around him, late ‘60s early ‘70s, and many more those are the only two I remember.

Post a Comment