Another lame tagline exposed

A few posts ago I blogged on taglines and the thought that they are at their best when differentiating a brand.

Well, I’ve run into another blue-chip advertiser whose adopted a tagline at least as useless as the example I gave last week: “American Airlines: We know why you fly”.

This time it’s MasterCard in the barrel.

I’m not sure how long they’ve been using “MasterCard – the card that won’t hold you back”.

But I can tell you it’s not a very strong competitive position, nor does it resonate with customers (at least with the six or seven I asked about the slogan). It’s not relevant as far as I can tell. Unless one of their competitors isn’t living up to promises they’ve made to customers. I own Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards and none of them have held me back, except that all of them rise interest rates, and I’m pretty sure that’s a function of the bank, not of the credit card provider.  In fact, I don’t know how any card provider could hold me back. It seems to me they’re addressing a phantom issue.

So, what’s the point? It’s a tagline that doesn’t…

Differentiate the advertiser…
Isn’t relevant…
Is not engaging…
Help make MasterCard more competitive…
Seem to increase MasterCard awareness or preference…
And finally, definitely falls into the platitude classification…

Isn’t your reaction to this slogan, “well, I should hope so”?

I’m at a loss. I speculated last week that desperation was the cause of American adopting its lame slogan. Is this the case here?

Or am I missing something.

I’d like to know what you think.

Am I so far out of sync with Mad Ave’s latest thinking that I’ve missed the point? Please let me know.

And if you’ve run in to taglines you’ve found dumb, please share them here. Also I’d like your candidates for great, differentiating taglines, too.
Just click “comments” below.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975

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