Advertising Slogans Gone Wild: Scotland,Virginia and DHL

BlogHer Original Post

Emperor's New Clothes
Advertising slogans are supposed to state the main benefits of the brand. Good slogans, make that great slogans, have a distinct personality of their own and are  hard to forget.

Scotland used to have such a slogan. It was,"Scotland, the Best Small Country in the World."

But that slogan was created by the last party in power and the new government found the slogan offensive saying it was too downbeat and typified the "Scottish cringe."

Okay, so I'm not sure I know what "Scottish cringe" is,but I'm assuming it's something to do with an inferiority complex.

So much for the back story.  After six months and about $250,000 (U.S.) Scotland unveiled its new super duper slogan. It is:

"Welcome to Scotland."

Oh, and  each sign will also include a local factoid like " Home of Golf" and " Home of Europe's Fastest Growing Life Sciences Community."

To many, its no more than the advertising equivalent of The Emperor's New Clothes.

From the BBC,

Responding to the new catchphrase, Labour's Jackie Baillie told BBC Scotland: "I am so stunned."

"We've waited with great expectation, we were promised something creative, imaginative to replace the slogan for Scotland that used to exist and I woke up this morning to 'Welcome to Scotland'. "If this is what the creative talent can bring to us and this is what SNP government is crowing about, frankly, I am astonished."

Former first minister Jack McConnell launched the campaign Former first minister Jack McConnell launched the first slogan

Liberal Democrat tourism spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Nationalist MSPs have spent years regaling us with tales of how fantastic Scotland is. Now, when they have a chance to create a brand for Scotland they give us this bland statement."

Gavin Brown, the Conservative enterprise spokesman, said: "Next, Alex Salmond will be telling us this is the best small slogan in the world."

Live Passionately
Scotland is not alone in messing up a perfectly good slogan. The State of Virginia recently tweaked its " Virginia Is For Lovers" slogan by adding the phrase "live passionately."   To bring that message home they added a hand gesture of a heart. When they discovered that the Chicago-based gang "The Disciples" have a very similar hand gesture, Virginia tourism removed the gesture from their branding. In August, I challenged Virginia on that decision.

Earlier last week,when the Tourism Office thought that the hand gesture was used by a small gang in South Carolina, they still  planned to go ahead with the promotion. Only when they learned it was the Chicago Disciples that the decision to remove the heart sign was eliminated.

What's the real problem here?Are they concerned that the Disciples are going to be offended?
Was the Commonwealth concerned the Disciples were going to haul them into court for copyright infringement?
Are they concerned that the Disciples will think this is an invitation to visit to Virginia?

Instead of kowtowing to a gang in Illinois why not should start a campaign " Bring Back Our Heart."  The idea would be that people who want to have a good time in Virginia should own the hand gesture and not worry about what goes on in the streets of Chicago.  If the Disciples want to use a similar gesture fine. But the message should be they don't own it.

While the Commonwealth of Virginia never intended for their brand to provide a double entendre for gang members, you have to wonder exactly what DHL was thinking when they launched their "All The Way" slogan in Asia Pacific this year.


There is an online game spoofing the slogan. Very Australian humor. It's a maze to collect packages with this warning,

But makes sure you look out for the secretaries! If they catch up to you, you'll cop more than just an earful."

 Oleh Petra Di offers up some Subtitles that DHL could include in their marketing.

  • We'll still respect you upon delivery
  • Prove your love for international shipping
  • If you don't use us, someone else will
  • It's not normal to wait for a package
  • Don't you want to see what door-to-door service is like?
  • C'mon, everybody's doing it!

There is a growing attitude that advertising slogans have lost some of their punch. That they are no longer distinguish brands. If you are of that ilk, you will enjoy visiting The Advertising Slogan Generator. Here's how it works. You give them a word and they generate the slogan for you. Here goes

Blogher slogan

Elana blogs about business culture at FunnyBusiness


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