Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." So is the definition of marketing insanity changing your tagline over and over to variations of the same theme and expecting to see a spike in sales?

In 2007, I wrote a post here at the Daily Fix sharing the news that the National Pork Board had hired The Richards Group from Texas to spike its sales. One of the elements that was implemented was walking away from their very well-known and recognized tagline (Pork: The Other White Meat) and adopting the new tagline: "Don't be blah."

Keep in mind that The Other White Meat was and is considered one of the most influential taglines of our era. It has its own Wikipedia page, for Pete's sake!

But let's put that decision aside. For now, let's assume that walking away from The Other White Meat was a good choice. (Feel free to debate that in the comments section.)

So, in 2005, we have "Don't be blah." Apparently, sales did not spike, according to Ceci Snyder, the pork board’s vice president of marketing, and now they're looking for a 10% increase by 2014. Which is why they've  moved the account to a Chicago-based agency, Schafer Condon Carter who has recently unveiled the new, new tagline: "Be inspired."

Now, I will be the first to say a tagline does not define a marketing campaign. And they may have some spectacular things planned that do indeed spike the sales to their goal. But if you are going to walk away from one of the most iconic taglines in American advertising hsitory---not once, but twice---I'd think you'd only walk away if you found something significantly better.

When I look at the two modern day taglines, I see ying and yang. Don't be blah; in fact, be inspired. They are  mirror images, message-wise, to each other. So, I find myself wondering ... if we didn't respond to "don't be blah," will we respond any better to "be inspired?"

Time will tell.  What do you think?

To me, there are three big questions here:

  1. Should they have walked away from "The Other White Meat" in the first place?

  2. Is there a substantial difference between "Don't be blah" and "Be inspired?"

  3. Is it the tagline's job to sell product or to simply connect us to the brand and let marketing tactics do the selling?

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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How Not to Rewrite Your Tagline

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image of Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan is the CEO of Agency Management Institute, a company serving 250+ agencies to help the owners build profitable agencies that evolve and scale.

LinkedIn: Drew McLellan

Twitter: @DrewMcLellan