Written by Conrad Schickedanz
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 finding new ways to sue those corporations.
So, it’s not surprising that so many companies choose their words very carefully when developing slogans, crafting the language to be vague and ambiguous enough that they can’t possibly be sued for misleading advertising. On the plus side, no lawsuits; on the minus side, most of today’s corporate slogans are complete meaningless gibberish.
#9.Hilton: Travel should take you places
This slogan is so bland and devoid of meaning that we have to wonder if the heiress herself came up with it, possibly during her third-grade vocabulary flashcard sessions. Otherwise, we’re forced to conclude that the Hilton Corporation simply wanted to remind us what the definition of “travel” was, just in case we were trying to reserve a room in our own homes via the Hilton website.
#8.Holiday Inn: Look again
If you take this slogan’s advice and look at it a second time, the only conclusion you’re going to come to is that it makes Hilton’s slogan look like a gleaming gem of savvy marketing.
Also, why is a corporation whose business model boils down to, “People will overlook a lot of nasty shit if you’re the cheapest in town” asking consumers to take a closer look? Are we supposed to be taking a second look at the stained, frayed bedspreads? Should we be re-examining the ridiculous price of Pringles in the mini bar? Or the drunk convention-goer who pressed all of the buttons on the elevator before heading to his room to order pornography? We suggest Holiday Inn “look again” to Snoop Dogg and Chingy for a catchier slogan.
#7.Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we’re working for
Given his history of heroin abuse, band breakups and moments of being cradled tenderly by Duff McKagan in the “Fall to Pieces” video, we might expect Velvet Revolver lead singer Scott Weiland to forget who he’s working for. We’re less enthusiastic, however, that a company building missiles and fighter jets is reminding us that they didn’t black out and sell F-22 Raptors to the North Koreans after a night on the town.
#6.Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there
You’ve heard it so many times, you may think you know what this slogan means. But if you’re one of the lucky folks who’ve actually read an insurance policy from beginning to end, you’ll know that most words are left purposely ambiguous in the event that you get hit by a bus and your insurance company isn’t excited about footing the bill.
The same holds true for State Farm’s slogan. Because let’s face it, the meaning of “good neighbor” probably depends on which neighborhood you live in. A “good neighbor” in Detroit may be someone who considerately waits until you’re out of your house before shooting you. In a college frat house, a good neighbor might be someone who buys you a six-pack of Old Milwaukee to apologize for slipping you a roofie and giving you a pubic beard. It’s probably safe to say you don’t want any of these good neighbors “there,” watching your house float away during the next major flood.
#5.American Eagle Outfitters: Live your life
While essentially telling your customers to continue breathing may seem to be setting a low bar for marketing goals, it should be noted that this slogan is undeniably better advice than telling today’s young Americans to live Lindsay Lohan‘s life.
#4.eBay: Whatever it is…you can get it on eBay
File this slogan under “Words you don’t want to hear from your doctor after looking at your mysterious rash.” Although, based on this slogan’s logic, you could also fill a prescription to cure the rash on eBay.
But wait: There’s a “Prohibited and Restricted Items” link on eBay that says you can’t sell prescription drugs, human parts, used cosmetics and teacher’s edition textbooks, among other things. So, the good news is that you couldn’t possibly have gotten your rash from used cosmetics or body parts purchased on eBay. The bad news, unfortunately, is that apparently the “whatever” in this slogan refers to the headache you’ll get trying to figure out what you actually can and can’t buy.
#3.H&R Block: You got people
This seems like an unsettlingly vague, grammatically incorrect statement to be coming from a company that’s only provided service is supposed to be accuracy. How many people do we have? Where did we get them? Are we going to have to feed them? How are we ever going to get our taxes done on time when we have all these people to feed? Whoever these people are, we hope that they can help us prepare taxes more accurately than the people who were reported last year, no joke, to have screwed up H&R Block’s own taxes.
#2.Captain Morgan: Drink responsibly – Captain’s orders!
If you’re taking orders from a cartoon pirate on a bottle of rum, you’ve probably already missed the boat to the land of responsible drinking, making this slogan rather moot (assuming you’re sober enough to read it). This one is just just barely worse than the Captain’s other slogan, “Got a little Captain in You?” a condition whose only symptom seems to be that you, at random moments, spontaneously lift your leg like you’re preparing to piss on a fire hydrant. The “Captain in You” slogan also provides the service of inviting the sort of people who actually drink this beverage to drop the devastatingly charming pick-up line, “You don’t?” (Putting Captain Morgan bottle near crotch) “Do you want some?”
#1.Cingular: Now the new AT&T
You know a company’s slogan is pushing the limits of meaninglessness when, after hearing it, you’re still not even sure what the name of the company is. Cingular? AT&T? The new AT&T? Either way, we question whether a cell phone company changing their name is going to make your cellular reception any clearer than this slogan. What we do know is that somebody thought it would be good idea to bring back fond memories of AT&T, the company that was broken up for being a monopoly, just in time for the “new” company to begin its monopoly as the exclusive carrier of the iPhone.