As I watch football on Sunday afternoons like the rest of the country, I am invariably bombarded with advertisements. These ads are usually for one of three products: beer, investment firms, or cars. Each ad is played roughly eighty-five times a quarter, and by the time the late game comes on, I can usually tell you the color of bartender’s eyes in the Budweiser commercial (they’re blue). But, to steal a line from Stan Lee, with great exposure comes great scrutiny (or something to that affect), and one advertisement last Sunday caught my eye. The commercial wasn’t bad, but a brief flash of a slogan changed my perception of the product completely and birthed this post.
The 2011 Kia Optima had several spots throughout the cavalcade of games on network television last Sunday, and after the third or fourth time seeing their commercial, I couldn’t help but notice the car’s slogan. After several sweeping shots of the Optima driving through a sprawling city landscape, a white screen appears with the logo and slogan written directly underneath. The slogan read: NOT YOUR AVERAGE MIDSIZE SEDAN. A seemingly safe slogan for a safe product, but it’s this type of slogan that could be the difference in a market where consumers are notoriously fickle. With so many options for midsize sedans available, a strong slogan can make your product standout against the pack. So what’s wrong with Kia’s slogan? Well, everything.
What about a statement like “not your average midsize sedan” makes me want to buy that car? That can’t be the statement Kia wants me to associate with their product. Companies should strive to create a strong emotional response in the consumer with every aspect of their work. I should have some kind of urge to go and get your product at that very moment. The response should be visceral. It should be primal. I don’t want that product. I NEED that product. But that’s not what comes to my mind when I read Kia’s slogan for the 2011 Optima. That slogan makes me think of being stuck in traffic on a Tuesday, taking unwanted weekend trips to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, or picking my grandma up from the retirement home for her doctor’s appointment. And with those images in my head, it struck me that the team in charge of marketing the Optima must be confused about its identity. This is even more apparent when considering the rest of the advertisement.
All that preceded the slogan in the Optima commercial screamed excitement. A bustling city, music fitting for a Jerry Bruckheimer project, and sexy car lighting all evoke thoughts of nights on the town, VIP rooms, and champagne service. These are exciting images, and if I went out for a wild weekend romp, you can bet I wouldn’t describe it to my colleagues on Monday as “not average.” I think you can see what I’m getting at here. If your advertisement is all about excitement, the slogan for the product can’t make me think of my average, mundane life. The slogan and the excitement of the advertisement send different signals. Don’t just take my word for it though, here’s a link to the ad in question.
The word average should never be used in advertising. Even when trying to say that the product is better than average, you have still invoked a word that is synonymous with boring, middle-class existence. No person is going to be excited about being above average or better than average, not when there are far better things to be than that. Take BMW’s slogan for example: “the ultimate driving machine.” Now that’s a slogan. The word ultimate evokes all kinds of emotions. Do you want a “not average” girlfriend, or the ultimate girlfriend? Do you want an above average pizza, or the greatest pizza ever made? When creating a slogan, modesty shouldn’t be one of your go-tos, especially when other products on the market have such a strong presence.
What about the numbers, though? How are sales on the 2011 Kia Optima? Well, you could say they are not your average sales. That is to say, they are below average. As of September, the Optima’s year-to-date sales are 55,737 units. The top five vehicles in the category are well over 150,000 units thus far this year. Is their slogan the sole reason for this discrepancy? No, but it is a factor. Marketing is crucial aspect in the success of any product, and slogans are the tag-line or catch phrase that people are going to associate with that product. Creating a slogan that will stick with the consumer can be a powerful tool to drive sales. It can also lead to a misunderstanding about what your product is all about.Slogans should sum up the experience that you’re offering in your product and get the consumer excited. The first slogan for the iPhone: “the internet in your pocket.” Great slogan. The entire internet in my pocket! What a concept. The possibilities are endless. The iPad followed suit with, “a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” Magical!? Now we’ve ventured into the world of the supernatural, the product is so good. A great slogan can permeate the culture and get people involved in advertising the product for you. If you have a strong slogan, people will use it. If someone had never eaten Wheaties before and wanted to know about the product, I would tell them, “It’s the breakfast of champions.” That’s the power that a strong slogan holds. If it’s memorable and evocative, you’ve got a winner. If it’s droll and forgettable, I’ll think your product is droll and forgettable. You have to light the world on fire with your slogan. Throw modesty out the window. Consumer confidence is fragile. Purchasing a car isn’t buying coffee or paper towels. With the exception of a home, a vehicle will be the most major purchase most consumers make in their entire lives, and you’re going to bank your products success on “not your average midsize sedan”? People want the best, so find out what it is your product is best at, and make sure people remember it. That’s what makes great slogans. That’s what sells products.
- nobadge posted this