Monday, August 20, 2007

It takes a licking ...

My watched died this morning. Time of death: 8:18. It wore a good life, and I plan to celebrate its three years of companionship tonight. If you had inquired yesterday about its maker, I would have either guessed or turned my left hand 90 degrees watchwise; until this a.m., I didn’t (care to?) know it was a Timex. It took a licking but stopped ticking, and now I’m naked in search of my next $25 companion.

The death of my Timex conjured other taglines and advertising slogans. A good slogan is one that is both memorable and relevant: It etches a perception (or collection of perceptions) in the minds of specific constituents. Good taglines are so memorable – or perhaps annoying – that they’re trite. We remember, hum, jingle, recite and act upon (i.e., purchase) with our eyes closed. It’s advertising and branding at its most effective: Brain-dead, reactive, take action and loyal consumerism.

Two memorable ones from pinned-to-my-wall teenage posters:

  • Is it live, or is it Memorex?
  • There is no finish line. (Nike)
And, a few that are probably too obvious and therefore trite to recite (answers at the end; see if you can ID these):
A. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
B. We bring good things to life.
C. Mikey likes it.
D. Think different.
E. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.
F. Don't leave home without it.
G. The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
H. When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
I. The ultimate driving machine.
J. A diamond is forever.
K. Got Milk?
L. From the Land of Sky-Blue Waters.
M. Good to the last drop.
N. The Breakfast of Champions.
Now, if only I could find a watch of champions, one that lasts forever, the ultimate time-telling piece from the land of sky-blue waters that I will not leave home without. After all, a good watch is a terrible thing to waste. Got ideas?

Answers: A. United Negro College Fund; B: General Electric; C. Life cereal; D. Apple; E. Almond Joy and Mounds; F. American Express; G. M&Ms; H. FedEx; I. BMW; J. De Beers; K. California Milk Processor Board; L. Hamm’s Beer; M. Maxwell House (allegedly coined by Theodore Roosevelt in 1907; adopted as Maxwell House’s tagline in 1926); and, N. Wheaties.

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