Should companies use slogans, yay or ney?

If someone said to you, think of a slogan, I’m sure you could real off a range of catchy and punchy straplines from a wide variety of companies, which shows that they clearly do their job. So what is it that makes a good slogan? Something that is memorable? Witty? Funny?

I thought it would be a good idea to explore the pros and cons of advertising slogans and give examples of when they have really worked and when they have gone horribly wrong.

I bet you can all guess the following brands just by their advertising slogans (answers at the end if not!):

  • The best a man can get
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop!
  • It’s a bit of an animal!
  • Just do it
  • Where do you want to go today?
  • Every Little Helps

The above slogans have been around for years and are still used today, making them great examples of how advertising slogans can really promote brand awareness.

A successful slogan acts as a resolution and makes sense of the whole advert. It is catchy, distinctive and creative – it evokes a memorable image or inspires a new way of thinking about a brand.

There are some proven ways for brands to ensure that they are maximising memorability. Common techniques include alliteration (“lick the lid of life”), repetition (“making the unmissable unmissable”) or rhyme (“Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it”). These techniques make the strapline amusing and easy to recall.

According to Millward Brown (2011), slogans are most likely to be remembered when they are included in a jingle. The best-remembered slogans fall into a number of categories. A simple slogan can be effective if it is relevant and meaningful. In Slovakia, the people from the Šariš region are renowned for their warmth, friendliness, and sense of humour. So the beer brand Šariš has succeeded with a slogan that communicates this regional pride: “Šariš Srdcom vychodniar” (“Šariš, heart of Easterners”).

The iconic Kit Kat slogan is one that has stood the test of time. Used in both printed and television adverts, the “Have a Break…” It is simple, and easy to remember – much like the company’s red and white branding.

However what happens when a slogan becomes misinterpreted and causes controversy for the brand. An example of this involved Austrian based company Red Bull who have the well-known slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.”

Back in October of this year, a man called Benjamin Careathers, took Red Bull to court over the legitimacy of its slogan and he won. Red Bull settled his claim to the tune of a staggering $13m.

redbull

Another example of where a slogan has been misinterpreted was back in the 1960s when Electrolux released a new vacuum cleaning product with the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

Released in Britain, where ‘suck’ is a term that means to imbibe or to consume, the ad was successful and the slogan went unjudged. However when the advert was broadcasted in the States and the results weren’t quite the same.

Electrolux

Another argument that has been put forward is that slogans do not depict the real perception of a brand. Below are some examples of what people really think of the products and brands take from if slogans told the truth:

IE

Netflix

Pepsi

It is evident at times that slogans have been dismissed as an effective component for product branding. However it appears that we need slogans in our society to make brands more easily recognisable to the consumer.

The main purpose of slogans, is to enhance the image of a brand, and to provide the consumer with a window into the promises of what your brand can deliver to them and to trigger brand recall in the customer’s mind.

Brands want their company to go global and in order to do this they need to ensure that their message and slogan is translated into a language that its audience can understand. However it is paramount that the translation is correct and in the right context.

Here a few ‘slogans gone wrong’ to make you laugh on a Monday:
1) The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are you lactating?”
2) Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read “Suffer From Diarrhoea.”
3) Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick”.
4) Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
5) Pepsi’s “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave” in Chinese.

It would seem that slogans are no doubt beneficial in raising awareness of a brand, giving it an identity and making it memorable. However inventing the catchy jingle is far from an easy task and, as we have seen, when it goes wrong it can be monumentally damaging for the brand!

Answers:

  • The best a man can get – Gillette
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop! – Rice Krispies
  • It’s a bit of an animal! – Peperami
  • Just do it – Nike
  • Where do you want to go today? – Microsoft
  • Every Little Helps – Tesco

Rebecca Murphy

PR Account Manager

photo

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We got the gold at the PRide Awards!

Leaving work early on a Friday is always a bonus, however when you’re leaving to get ready to go the CIPR Awards which includes a slap up meal and champagne, it makes it even better!

For those of you who don’t know, the CIPR PRide Awards is an annual awards ceremony which highlights outstanding work and celebrates the best talent that the PR industry has to offer in the UK, so it’s been really great to be a part of it. It is so nice to see everyone from the industry coming together to recognise and reward the inspirational work of leading public relations teams and consultancies in the Midlands.

The awards took place this year at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. The evening took on a football theme in celebration of Coventry City moving back to its home ground and in keeping with the theme evening’s entertainment included football players showing off their juggling tricks on stage. There was also the legendary photo booth which was a massive hit as it is every year, with hordes of people trying to cram into the booth wearing illuminious wigs and ridiculous hats!

The evening started off with a champagne reception which gave everyone the chance to catch up with familiar faces before we were asked to take to our seats for dinner. The three course meal consisted of bruschetta and goats cheese to start, beef shin for main and an amazing crème brulee with orange shortbread for dessert. After the meal the awards ceremony kicked off (no pun intended) with the evening’s presenters, Sky News duo Tom Parmenter and Lisa Dowd and an introduction from friend of Syndicate Communications, CIPR Midlands Committee Chair Lisa Jones.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (Full of PRide!) we were shortlisted from 350 entries for four categories including Public Sector Campaign, Integrated Campaign, Best External Publication and Regional Campaign of the Year and we were delighted to receive a gold and two silver awards! We took home gold for the Public Sector Campaign and silver awards for Regional Campaign of the Year and Integrated Campaign.

The Public Sector Campaign award was for our work on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ Business is GREAT campaign and the Integrated Campaign and Regional Campaign of the Year awards were for Syndicate Communication’s work with Amey and Birmingham City Council to promote the closure of the A38 tunnels into Birmingham City Centre last summer.

It was so great to see so many young agencies receiving recognition for all their hard work and to be up against long standing agencies and taking home the gold is a fantastic achievement! We’d also like to pass on our particular congratulations to our client South & City College on their two golds and one silver and our fellow table 28 guests PDSA on their one gold and four silver – great results all round!

There were many new faces this year at the awards and also some familiar faces who have now moved on to different roles and companies within the industry. However everybody comes together to celebrate the outstanding work that the public relations agencies and consultancies do throughout the Midlands. I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a great night and celebrated the talent that the Midlands’ PR industry has to offer and hopefully everyone is fully recovered now.

Congratulations to all that took home awards, no doubt there were a lot of sore heads Saturday morning! A full list of winners is here.

Photo caption: L-R: Tom Parmenter (host and Sky News correspondent), CIPR sponsor, Anthony Aston (Syndicate Communications), Amanda Wood (Syndicate Communications), Eddie Fellows (Amey),  Lara Thorns (Amey), Rebecca Murphy (Syndicate Communications) , Mark Chambers (Syndicate Communications) and Lisa Dowd (Sky News correspondent).

Do 9 million more UK adults read a local newspaper than listen to commercial radio?

In our previous blog entries we have repeatedly banged on about local newspapers and the integral role they play within the areas we live. For one, this is due to our interest in local news and information regarding the area in which we live as it helps us to live our lives on a daily basis. Also, local newspapers promote a sense of pride in people for their community which in turn encourages people to act for the benefit and wellbeing of their local area.

In our modern world of internet, smart phones, tablets, social media and 24-hour news, and with the recent decline in high street and local independent shops (everyone remembers the loss we suffered with the demise of Woolworths – most notably the Woolworths pick and mix) it could be said that ‘localness’ is no longer important to people in Britain as the public would rather shop online than pay a visit to their local shopping centre or high street.

However, having access to information and updates about their local area, and being a member of their community is something that is still important to people in the UK. The proof of this is in the number of people who use various channels as a way of keeping informed about local news, in particular local newspapers and radio. According to the News Consumption for the UK 2013 report carried out by Ofcom, four in ten (40%) use newspapers and just over a third (35%) use radio as a source of news.

Radio is still extremely prosperous in our digital world irrespective of the increasing number of online providers, and I would argue despite nine million more UK adults reading a local newspaper than listening to commercial radio that more people listen to their local radio station than read their local newspaper *.

Local radio stations play an important part in people’s communities, raising money for local charities and hosting events, as well as providing listeners with regular and daily news updates. For example, BBC Radio WM reported on 15 September 2014 that ‘five new swimming pools are to be built as part of a £36 million revamp of leisure centres in Birmingham’. Another example, is Heart FM Birmingham who report on local events in the area, such as the ACT Peace Day 2014 event that took place at The REP Theatre in Birmingham on 21 September 2014. This type of local news is valued by people living in the Birmingham area as it concerns their daily lives.

Local radio is often people’s first point of call if they want quick and regular news bulletins. It is also one of the best sources for information concerning traffic, road works or accident updates, and so listeners will often tune into their local radio station if they are travelling to locations in their area and across the UK. As mentioned, according to the News Consumption for the UK 2130 report just over a third of people listen to local radio for local news and information. If truth be told, even here at Syndicate Communications we have our local radio station, Free Radio Birmingham playing throughout the day for the constant and consistent local news reports concerning the area.

Local radio is a good way of achieving large spread coverage as in many areas of the country the most popular radio station is the local one. RAJAR revealed positive numbers in 2013 for many of the nation’s local radio stations with radio listening at its highest since records began in 1999. So it is clear that local media, especially radio is still vastly popular and holds a lot of weight with people in Britain as it is reaching bigger audiences than ever before not only across print, but also online and broadcast channels.

* The Newspaper Society

Rebecca Murphy

PR Account Manager

Is local press the UK’s most popular print medium?

Despite the claims that local newspapers are becoming a dying medium they still appear to have remained popular among the public, which as we have mentioned before in our previous blogs, reflects on how people care about news concerning their local area.

However, with the rapid growth of social media, smartphones and tablets the internet is increasingly becoming people’s favourite channel for sourcing local news. It has been found that local media websites attract 79 million unique users each month.* So although the public’s interest in local news is not decreasing it appears that their preference for local newspapers is.

Local newspapers may well be the most popular print medium in the UK, read by 30 million people a week, but this does not take other media platforms into account such as local media websites which, according to The Newspaper Society (2014), are increasing in popularity by attracting more than 79 million users each month, and as a result are taking over newspapers as the most popular news platform.

Many people, including myself, will admit to seeking local news from the internet or social media rather from their local newspaper. Online local news articles offer people more as they are interactive, enabling readers to engage with the article by making comments, asking questions and giving opinions. What is more, this allows people who live in the area to comment with up to date information and inside knowledge related to the news report. So, it seems that in this digital age printed newspapers are losing their necessity.

It is true that by the time the paperboy or girl has posted a copy of the local newspaper through my letterbox I have already read the latest updates about my area through my news feed on Twitter. Yet, I personally still enjoy picking up a copy of my local newspaper and reading the whole story in detail – something that you only get with a newspaper!

Newspaper circulation is in decline, and although the loss of local newspapers would have a major impact on many people’s ability to keep up with local news, information and updates, most news providers have websites and social media pages, which provide the public with the most recent updates regarding their local area on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, for many people their local newspaper is the only access they have to news, as many local newspapers are free, and delivered to the public’s door weekly. Whereas, national newspapers and even online news pages charge people for the privilege of having access to news and keeping informed, which can be quite costly. For example The Sun newspaper charges £7.99 per month for an online subscription!

Not to mention, local newspapers have a crucial role in the community providing news that matters to people who live in the local area and as an important advertising platform for small, local businesses. Local newspapers are an important source of reference for people living in that particular area, and without them there would definitely be a decrease in the sense of community.

Local newspapers have always been at the heart of the community, but in our digital world it seems to be local news rather than newspapers that people care about.

So I can’t help but wonder, in a digital world that revolves around technology are printed newspapers becoming obsolete?

* The Newspaper Society 2014

Rebecca Murphy

PR Account Manager

How is local news brought to you?

My last few blog entries have focused on local newspapers and their position as significant media platforms within our society. However, what I think is particularly interesting is how people access local news in the 21st century has expanded dramatically with the evolution of modern technology.

In fact, according to The Newspaper Society, there are currently 1,100 local newspapers and 1,700 associated websites in the UK alone. This is proof that local news matters, and that the development of the internet and social media websites has offered local news providers more channels for reporting the latest news concerning their area.

Over the years we have changed the way that we consume news. In the past it was almost a tradition for people to sit down every day and watch the 6pm and 10pm news. Now people are kept up-to-date minute by minute, as news is reported 24/ 7 with the BBC News Channel sending out a bulletin to smart phones when there is breaking news. We are constantly kept informed by numerous media channels, which means that we can choose the channel that most appeals to us and obtain information how we want to.

People living in our modern society tend to have busy and hectic lifestyles, meaning that they don’t always have the time to sit down and read a printed copy of their local newspaper (I know I don’t!) Yet, the beauty of smart phones and tablets is that I have access to local news, whenever and wherever I am, via my local newspaper’s website and social media pages.

I am an avid user of social media and follow my local newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer’s Twitter page as a way of keeping informed about updates and news in my local area such as the recent events that took place in Gracechurch Shopping Centre to celebrate its 40th birthday. The media savvy among us may not necessarily think to pick up a copy of their local paper, but with access to news through social media pages it has never been quicker or easier to keep informed.

With local news available both in print and online it is reaching larger audiences than ever before as it is available by way of numerous platforms, and so no longer isolates any particular groups within society. People care about what is going on in their local area as it affects them directly and on a personal level, and with 80% of people spending half or more of their time within five miles of their home, (according to a survey by Loving Local), it is not surprising. What is more, this increasing access to local news through various media gives more people the opportunity to actually take an interest in what’s going on in their area.

The Birmingham Mail states that they aim to highlight and campaign for major issues that matter to their readers, yet national newspapers tend to inform us of how something will impact the average person. This emphasises the value of local news as it provides us with a balanced, local view and news that is being reported in the interest of the local people living in that area. This explains why the majority of people choose to read a local newspaper, as they trust the news that is being reported *.

Local news matters and it’s irrelevant whether news is accessed from a printed newspaper, website, mobile phone or even a tablet. What’s important is that we have knowledge of what is happening in our local area, as this will ultimately have an effect on our daily lives!

Jade Perrysmith

PR and Social Media Account Executive Intern

* The Newspaper Society 2014

Do you ever read the adverts in your local paper? More than you think do…

Advertising is an incredibly powerful tool of communication and surveys have shown that advertising in local newspapers is the most successful method for driving consumer action. This is not surprising considering that, according to The Newspaper Society, 58% of adults (including myself) read a local newspaper, which makes local press a key media platform for advertisers.

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry local press has been proven to be the most trusted media channel, and so it is easy to understand why over 60% of people act on the ads in local newspapers*. Local newspapers are highly valued by the public and seeing something advertised in the local media provides shoppers with reassurance as they know that the service or product is available locally.

I know that I personally take notice of what I read in my local newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer, as it always contains updates, advertisements and information about what’s on in my local area and so it is often my first point of call when I’m looking for somewhere to go on the weekend or even the number for my local takeaway.

It is clearly beneficial then for companies to get involved with their local community as it is proven that people who read their local newspaper will often recommend what they have seen in the local press, in particular local advertising. Just this week I was planning on taking a trip to my local pub with friends for a drink (or two), but not before my Mom showed me a review in my local paper for a new bar and restaurant that had recently opened in my area claiming it served the best cocktails in the whole of the Sutton area…Well let’s just say it was not long before I found myself drinking a Long Island Iced Tea in said bar, and all as a result of what I read in the local newspaper.

What is more, in a survey by The Newspaper Society, 65% of people said that they would take more notice of national Government advertising or public information messages if they saw them in their local newspaper. This really highlights the impact of local media on the public and changes the way that we perceive local newspapers, as although the reader numbers of local newspapers are in decline they are undoubtedly a significant means of communicating with individuals and communities.

I can’t help but wonder what this means for us…as although advertising and public relations are not the same thing (a common mistake made by many), this piece of information is still incredibly valuable to those working in the PR industry. If the readers of local newspapers are more than twice as likely to act on advertisements seen in local media than ads on television and social media then the local press obviously holds a lot of weight over individuals, and so is an important medium for us as communications specialists interacting with various audiences.

 

Jade Perrysmith

 

* The Newspaper Society.

 

PR & Social Media Account Executive Intern

PR & Social Media Account Executive Intern

Do you think that local newspapers are more than twice as trusted as any other media channel?

In the PR industry the media is a vital portal for reaching out to a variety of audiences and communicating with a large number of people. So it is not unusual that we frequently turn to our favourite media types over others, especially if they prove to be more successful in achieving consistent and high quality coverage.

The local press is a key media channel and one we have used successfully time and time again in both large national campaigns with local activity in every region and small local campaigns. We successfully achieved coverage in the local press for last year’s A38 Tunnels closure campaign. Widespread coverage in the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, BBC Midlands Today and Radio WM as well the Express and Star led to a circulation of over 2.1 million and awareness levels of over 95%. More importantly the coverage helped us achieve behaviour change with a 7% increase in rail travel and 1.6% increase in bus journeys over the period equating to an additional 200,000 additional journeys on public transport.

However, local press is often forgotten and seen as a dying media, and with the arrival of the internet there was the speculation that local press would become out of date and overlooked by more modern forms of media. The internet and social media are most definitely here to stay but I strongly believe that this doesn’t mean print and newspapers have been made obsolete as a result – in fact the two are starting to work hand in hand.

The internet and social media have led to local news being consumed in a different way by a wider audience of people. Most local and regional media outlets have successful social media feeds and are seeing higher audiences on their websites as content is shared far and wide on social media.

According to YouGov (2014), who surveyed more than 2,000 adults, 67% of people rely on their local paper for local news. So, this really shows the power of local news, and why we as an agency value local newspapers as an effective method of communication.

Local newspapers have earned the trust and support of their readers so much so that they are trusted more than twice the amount of all other media. In fact, according to The Newspaper Society 52% of people agree that local media is the most trusted source of information, with 75% of the public believing that newspapers often publish stories they know are inaccurate or fabricated in order to encourage sales.

An example of this happened earlier this year (February 2014) when copies of The Sun newspaper were removed from sale at a south Wales newsagent’s shop because its front page is said to have outraged the local community.

According to the Llanelli Star, CKs in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire decided not to sell The Sun as “a show of solidarity for the grief-stricken family of tiny Eliza-Mae Martha Mullane.” She was the six-day-old baby who was reported to have died after being attacked by the family’s dog, an Alaskan Malamute. Reading stories like this, it is not hard to understand why people trust their local newspapers, as unlike large national papers they aren’t competing for sales and don’t have hidden agendas (the Guardian 2014).

Local newspapers provide people with access to reliable news and updates concerning specific towns, villages and cities which is more important to those living there than any other media available to them. I know that I would rather read about a charity event in my local area than a sensationalised story concerning a Z-list celebrity…

With this knowledge at our fingertips it is clear why we still turn to local newspapers when working on campaigns as they have larger audiences than ever before, which appears to be due to the difference local press can make to the lives of individuals within a regional community, demonstrating that local news and updates remain highly valued by the public.

Jade Perrysmith

PR & Social Media Account Executive Intern

PR & Social Media Account Executive Intern