This year’s thumbs-down for a trend that perplexes me goes to the slogan writers.Some time ago another Brit pointed out to me that if you’re stuck and uninspired and can’t think of a catchy slogan in German, the simplest solution is to take the product or benefit and slap “Faszination” in front of it. Cars: Faszination Auto. Pets: Faszination Hund. Walking: Faszination Freiheit. Fascination flipping anything! The sad thing is, this cheap and quick fix still hasn’t disappeared. You frequently see it in brochures or supermarket flyers. Not got much space left on the page to pull customers to the meat counter? Easy, write Faszination Salami (yes, I’m being facetious).
Now I fear a new trend is emerging, and this has all the potential to replace fascination. This one is “So…”
German “So” at the beginning of a sentence means something like “Thus” or “That’s the way”. For example, “So trink ich mein Bier” means “That’s how I drink my beer”. So… let’s look at the three slogans that jumped out at me this year, which are probably just the tip of the iceberg.The first is for Saturn, who featured on this blog only back in August. Their slogan is “So muss Technik”. I can only translate this as something like “That’s how technology should be”. I’ve kind of got used to this slogan, it gets pushed a lot on TV and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it on the radio too. But then I realised the same trick has already been used by a bank for some time.
“So geht Bank heute” is the slogan of Targo Bank. It looks like they’re telling us “This is how banking goes these days”. Er, how? What “so” do they mean? Dunno. Just like the “so” in Saturn’s “So geht Technik”, it’s up to us how we interpret it.
I’ll admit this banking slogan has been around for a couple of years. The reason I first noticed it? If you weren’t listening properly to the first TV ad, the voiceover made it sound like “So geht bankrott” (that’s how bankrupt goes). This was not long after the financial crisis and everytime I heard the slogan I honestly just thought about bankrupt Targo Bank.But Targo is sticking to its guns. Thankfully the elocution of their voiceover is better now, too. So let me turn to the third high-profile brand that is now using the so… slogan. This time it’s “So geht Genuss” (“That’s what indulgence is like”). It’s being used by Kinder (of the egg fame) for their Pinguin bar in Germany. Basically, they’re telling us it’s yummy.
So that’s it then, cheap slogan trick of the year, 2015. Let’s apply it now to some markets. Grab a key benefit (hopefully you know this from market research), a USP, or a something nice and generic: