Back when I marketed local TV news, I wrote that pithy little bit in today’s headline. It wasn’t the traditional sort of sloganeering you see from TV stations, but unlike a lot of branding statements, it actually said something. It was a tough sell, because people thought it was too long.
“It’s not that long,” I argued, “And it’s not long at all compared to what FedEx says: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
I always used to get a dirty look from my boss when I was right, and this was one of those times. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for Nothing More Important to be killed off, largely thanks to our consultant at Frank N. Magid Associates. They didn’t like it. Magid, by the way, has done more to make news look exactly alike everywhere in America than anyone else.
Not that I need validation, but Ad Week did an interesting piece on the long vs. short slogan debate a few years ago. From the story by Al Ries:
In the 1920s, according to author Ken Roman, a London advertising agency (Mather & Crowther) created an advertising slogan to get consumers to “eat more fruit.” The eight unforgettable words they created were: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Today, of course, that same slogan would probably have been shortened to “Got Apple?”
Oh, well. All this is neither here nor there, except I couldn’t stop thinking about my slogan as the news was chock full of missteps and flubs by the media, reporting of an arrest in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Being first is good, but being right? There’s nothing more important.