51 shades of Grey

“Just do it”, “Think different”, “Never knowingly undersold”, “ahh Bisto” these are great taglines and have been backed over the years with millions of pounds. But not all taglines are born equally and most are not sired by an aristocratic brand leader or have the marketing budgets to get into our psyche. Some are dull or just a description of what a company or product does and others are lazy or just misleading. The M25 is full of such marketing masterpieces “the good”, “the bad” and “the pig ugly”. Having conceived and given birth to a few ugly buggers of my own, I’m always on the look out for amusing examples. A couple in particular caught my eye at the beginning of this week.

Seymour Transport a big red truck that I was parked behind on the M25…  the tagline… “Logistics Magicians”. Inspired… yes that’s exactly what I want from my distribution company a service that gives me a “Now you see it”, “Now you don’t”… and look “Now you see it at a location nowhere near where you were expecting it”… applause. Not quite tagline gold, though I am familiar with that particular type of delivery service. Luggage at the airport is a good example. Now you see it at Gatwick… then you don’t see it in Majorca… but just when you think it’s gone… hey presto it’s on the carousel in Chicago… more applause.  The empty luggage carousel is one of life’s most depressing situations, it’s a bit like looking for that £20 note you thought you still had after a night out and then comes the realization that you bought the last round of drinks including a few extra for some random Doris types hanging around the bar… a wretched thought… what was I thinking.

The other tagline that caught my eye this week was on the side of a truck. “Delivering the Gold” … how exciting… what was it promoting you might be wondering… well probably not what you might think… “Delivering the Gold” pertains to the new Gold Combi-Bolier from Potterton. Yes a boiler… the Potterton marketing team must have worked long and hard on the conception of that one. I say conception but I think that line was more likely the outcome of a finger fumble in the stationery cupboard.  “Delivering the Gold” sounds like an over promise to me… do they honestly believe people see a boiler as some kind of lifestyle or luxury purchase… picture the scene your girlfriend is just coming through the front door and you excitedly beckon her “Hi baby come into the kitchen I’ve got a surprise for you” just as she comes through the door you turn on the hot water tap… the Potterton Gold fires up and your honey is greeted by hot water filling the sink… a steamy scene straight from 50 shades of grey you’d think… but no… she hasn’t quite made the connection between a combi boiler and gold trinkets… panic; the Potterton marketing flunkies have really let you down and the only finger fumbling you’ll be doing tonight is when you make that call to Seymour, the Logistics Magicians, to request a Houdini like transportation of  your sorry backside out of there.

Potterton boiler

Couldn’t quite fit it all in and getting out of the car wasn’t really an option

David Sadler-Smith


4 thoughts on “51 shades of Grey

  1. The problem that the Pottertons of the business world forget is that no-one outside of their little trade gives a sh*t what is on the side of their trucks. The clowns I really feel sorry for are the ones who have some meaningless initials for a name (usually an acronym based on a name that once actually meant something) and a slogan that gives absolutely no clue as to what the company actually does!
    Years of pounding the motorways of our once fine land have made me ashamed that I once spent productive years in a marketing capacity

  2. Great article, but you obviously spend too long on the M25 (I’m thinking your Dartford Crossing post)…live a bit, try the M3, or even the A12 (well, it’s different, but narrow and bumpy).

    I thought you were after taglines for 50 shades of grey and I instantly thought of “love hurts”…you can see why I was once employed to come up with taglines for Hollywood movies – I did “Born on the 4th of July”, “Cousins” (Ted Danson and Isabella Rosellini), “Black Rain”, and some movie about the Atomic Bomb directed by Paul Newman, but was “taken off the account” when I penned “She thought Clitoris was a Greek Island and never came home” for “Shirley Valentine”.

    I also me the Marketing Director of Potterton a long time ago when I was at Saathis. He spent the whole briefing session with his hand down the front of his trousers, but it’s not the kind of thing you want to remark on – clients, eh?!

    • Very funny… loved the Shirley valentine line… definitely a part of Greece I love to explore .. though I haven’t been there for a while but looking forward to my next trip. Just looking for a travelling partner… .

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