Saturday, October 08, 2005

Meaningless Slogans No. 5769

BBC NEWS | England | West Yorkshire | Row over second-hand city slogan
This is a hoot (Leeds in-joke). Two things need to be said. First, in answer to the councillors who asked whether the city has got value for £150,000 research and launch costs, the answer is NO. The second thing, leaving aside the breathtaking incompetence of a firm that can charge that sort of money for a second hand slogan, is - what the hell does it mean? Live what? Love what? The "it" can only refer to the city, so I suppose charitably we could say the slogan suggests that the reader will love Leeds - the verb's in the command form, so we don't apparently have a choice. But live it? How do I "live" a city? If we must have marketing slogans for places - and I seriously doubt we do - at least let's have ones that mean something. It's asking too much of course. Personally, if I were Leeds council, I'd be asking for my money back. And if they really want a slogan, organise a competition in the city's schools, and give the winner a book token. It'll be bound to come up with a better idea than this vacuous nonsense. It makes the "Marketing Leeds" puffery all the more laughable - their website says " Come back soon to see how the cream of Leeds enjoyed the Marketing Leeds launch party and the much-anticipated unveiling of the new Leeds brand."
I'm tempted to add that Leeds has a city motto -Pro rege et lege - that at least has some dignity. The current campaign, apart from being nicked from Hong Kong of course, is more reminiscent of Macd*nald's "I'm lovin' it" than anything. But that's what comes of trying to sell a place as if it were a burger, I suppose.

8 comments:

francessa said...

Hi Rob, maybe you'll find some comfort here: http://www.usacitiesonline.com/mottos.htm
- it can get worse. And what do you think of the notorious "Vienna is different"?

Rob Spence said...

Francessa:
How useless is "Vienna is different"? I loved the link - though somehow, I don't think I'll be visiting the "artichoke capital of the world" any time soon...

francessa said...

Which is the artichoke capital, I wonder? I think the notion of difference is only useful as a form of demarcation from something. And although our city fathers wanted the "Vienna is different" to have a positive connotation - we now have all kinds of strange slogans from the right wing area, such as: Vienna must not become Chicago, or, recently, Istanbul, which is very bad taste.

Rob Spence said...

...and England have just beaten Austria, despite the sending off of Beckham following a laughable dive by the Austrian player...
Horrible to hear of the way some Viennese are using the slogan - maybe they should look at the multicultural nature of the England team that beat their lads...

francessa said...

Oh, did you see the game? I missed it because of some deadline-thing! Congratulations! It was clear we'd get cold feet as they say here. As regards multiculturality - every team I know has between 3 and 6 different nations, even the Austrians. These are the foreigners they want.

Rob Spence said...

Cold feet is an English idiom too - but maybe means something slightly different.

francessa said...

I think your cold feet means "to lose courage" and ours "to get an unpleasant, queasy feeling". What do you think?

Rob Spence said...

You are spot on - losing courage is just right.