A meaningless slogan won’t kill a brand

A bag of hot airAt least that what I now conclude.

And I used to think that meaningless, pontificating pratitudes might really damage a brand.

What brought me to this new point of view (which is actually a position of neutrality), are the ads for Southwest Airlines.

Since Southwest Airlines has begun serving Denver, we’re getting a lot more ads from Southwest. They’re pretty good, all in all. And they each end with a sound effect (a ding indicating I can unfasten my seatbelt) and the line, “You are free to move about the country”.

Now what makes Southwest different from any other airline? Do other airlines bind you or somehow inhibit your movement throughout the country? If you stop to think about it, the line is somewhat catchy, but how does it help fill the seats on Southwest airplanes?

But Southwest is a good airline and a great brand. It’s almost a cult brand, in fact. That means there’s a loyal group of customers willing to spout enthusiastic about Southwest to their friends, neighbors and business associates. They must be doing more than one thing right.

And even if their tagline doesn’t contribute to differentiating Southwest, it sure hasn’t harmed it.

Even though I do think a tagline can reinforce a brand by differentiating it, I’ll not be as hard on useless slogans because today I believe they don’t help or hinder a brand.

They just waste money for the advertiser and brain waves for the agency.

Martin Jelsema

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