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May 06

“We won’t drop the ball”. A great catchphrase or perhaps not?

I was in my car and the van in front caught my attention as I was waiting for the lights to turn green. Unlike "Indian Weddings", there is no photo this time. There are two reasons for this:

  • I argue that this is not such a great catchphrase, but I do not want to publically criticise the company.
  • I was in my car and for once the traffic lights were not stuck on red for ages.

What could be wrong with this catchphrase?  Well quite a few things:

  • It is "catchy" if you excuse the pun, but what sticks in your mind? The answer is "drop the ball".  That is a negative.  Your subconscious mind associates the company with a negative:  "drop the ball".
  • Not everyone is a sports fan who instantly understands what this means: we won't let you down. This is also a negative.
  • The catchphrase does not have any association with the products or services offered by this company.

So what should you do?

  • Accentuate the positive.  "You can rely on us" would be better.
  • Have some association with what you actually do!  "Carters, your building partner" is an example of this.
  • Be distinctive without being offensive or too smart.
  • Be clear about your target market (demographic and psychographic) and consider both the company and the people you need to influence.
  • Test your catchphrase to see how memorable it is and whether it sends the signals you would like to convey.