The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Distinction Ends Up Being The Same …

Once upon a time, endlines meant something.

They were distinct, explained a brands value or purpose.

And more often than not, were packed with personality.

Then Dan Wieden fucked it up for everyone.

You see his famous JUST DO IT became the benchmark for all brands.

Marketing Directors craved a line that summed up who they were in 3 words.

The number of words was more important than what it said … which is why you now get this …

What a pile of shite.

Bland, contrived, sameness …

Literally doing the opposite of what it is supposed to do.

Designed to appeal to the ego of the board rather than the hearts of the audience.

All because we have fallen into the trap of believing simplistic equates to effectiveness.

It doesn’t.

Simple might do … but simplistic is the lowest common denominator that requires zero thinking because it makes zero impression.

It’s why I sit here and can remember endlines from my childhood more easily than end lines I watched 10 minutes ago.

Handmade by Robots … for Fiat.

Refreshes the other parts other beers can’t reach … for Heineken.

Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo … for, ahem, Rolo.

Of course there’s a few modern endlines that work … GoPro’s ‘Be A Hero’ for example [though they went and fucked it up by changing it to utter blandom] … but in the main, companies seems to like endlines that sound like they know what they’re doing but don’t really say much at all.

At cynic we used to call these ‘Yoda Statements’, but what is even scarier is consultants are being paid a fortune to come up with this sort of twaddle.

That’s right, companies who claim to know how to help business grow are coming up with statements that literally make companies blend into everything else.

And yet they still are valued more highly by clients that companies who know how to push, provoke, inspire and capture the imagination of culture through creativity.

If anything tells you how mad the World is, surely one of them is that.

21 Comments so far
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Another good post Robert. What is happening ; )
I agree with all of this. The attempt to mimic Just Do It. The desire to disrupt the category in ways that are lacking any distinction. The unmistakable marks of a consultants corporate nonsense speak.
There has never been an easier time to stand out but only if you don’t follow the corporate guide to standing out.

Comment by George

That’s it. Disruption without distinction.

Comment by Rob

I believe that expression is from something you previously wrote.

Comment by George

get a fucking room.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well most of all I know I’ve stolen from you so let’s call it even. Haha.

Comment by Rob

The definition of Rob “fairness”. ; )

Comment by Pete

It’s served me well.

Comment by Rob

handmade by robots was a fucking great line. shit ad and even shitter car.

Comment by andy@cynic

I watched it recently. I didn’t realise how long it was. 30 seconds of enjoyment stretched out into what felt like hours of pain.

Comment by Rob

dan fucking wieden has a lot to answer for. the biggest fucking crime being hiring you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yep. He ruined advertising for everyone.

Comment by Rob

Then you finished them off.

Comment by Bazza

the only way that tagline generator would work for this blog is if column b was full of disappointment. even then it wouldnt match the feeling of misery coming on here gives you. im going to bed and hope this is all a fucking nightmare.

Comment by andy@cynic

So what you’re saying is the tagline would be representative of this blog, which may be a backhanded compliment, but at least it would be genuinely disruptive and true. A case study in the making then. Ha.

Now go to sleep or you’ll be even worse when you no doubt come on here to abuse me later. Ha.

Comment by Rob

You are especially strange today Rob.

Comment by Bazza

2 hours sleep.
And not even because of a pitch. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Another good post. I still have not fathomed how consultants get away with being able to charge so much for work that is designed to mean so little. Maybe I am being unfair and it just says more about the standard and insecurities of the C suite.

Comment by Pete

Step 1. Say digital transformation. Repeat.
Step 2. Interviews and research for 8 months.
Step 3. Make a new logo.
Step 4. Put new logo on existing website.
Step 5. Charge a billion dollars for digital transformation.

Comment by Bazza

Mostly still on topic, I totally get why people hate planning folk for complicating everything, but I honestly think there’s too much mistaking ‘make the complicated simple’ for ‘reduce everything down to nothing worthwhile at all’. Simplicity is overrated. Nearly as much as Queen
By the way, why all the good posts? Are you trying to justify another looming holiday?

Comment by Northern

I think simplicity is different to reduction. They come from the same place, but what is made from them ends up going to different places.

And funnily enough, I am going to be going away for a few days and I hate you guessed that when I never thought they were connected till then, ha.

Comment by Rob

The word is distillation.

And it seems to me that the tool generates descriptions of what the thing is whereas the memorable lines describe what they do (beyond pure function).

It’s hardly superforecasting when you’re always on holiday.

Comment by John

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