A Slogan Without Substance is Like a Fart in a Stiff Breeze

The other day, I stumbled across a photo on Twitter of a partisan political press conference.  Pasted on the lectern was a sign that said:


The Twitter user who posted the photo commented:

“A Slogan Without A Strategy”


It hit me like a sledgehammer to the skull. In my mind, that statement perfectly captures exactly what is wrong today–not just with politics, but with so much of modern marketing.

It’s all hash tags followed by some words that have no real connection to what people are actually doing.

It’s simple sloganeering.

It’s just short bursts of clever word play designed to grab your attention and get you in the door.

And in that respect, it works.

But when you walk in, you find that the building is empty.  There’s nothing there.  And then you walk away, disappointed, and pissed off at the person who put the enticing sign on the front door.

In that respect, it’s an epic fail.

It’s a branding and trust-building disaster.

In essence, you’re farting on your customers.


Too-clever sloganeering is the bane of modern marketing.

It pulls you in, and leaves you hanging.

It whets your appetite, but your salivation stops when you find out there’s no beef on the hamburger.

Somebody farted–and this time, you can’t blame the dog…


Remember this:

There is a huge difference between being clever, and being creative.

Don’t get me wrong.  The world can use clever people, just like the world can use creative people.  But being clever is not the same thing as being creative.  MacGyver was cool, but he was no Michelangelo.

Creativity is about making something out of nothing.  It’s about getting your customers to say “WOW!”

Cleverness is about making nothing out of nothing.  And when it’s over, your customers  say “OK, that’s kind of cool, I see what you did there…”

Creativity is about inventing new and imaginative ways to give your customers things that are of interest to them and also of value to them. It builds trust, and shows that you value the relationship.

Cleverness is just a cheap trick. So show some respect for your customers, and kill the clever.  Stop farting on your customers.

What you fail to realize is that without anything real behind them, your clever, substance-free slogans are like farts in a stiff breeze: they make an immediate and stunning impact on the innocent victim, only to be quickly wafted away by the wind and remembered as just a crude annoyance perpetrated by someone who obviously can’t control their own bodily emissions.


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