Recently I’ve noticed that the world is full of meaningless straplines. I’ve always known they were there, but until last week I didn’t really stop to read and analyse them. They seem to fall into two main categories: philosophies for the meaning of life or persuasions towards a way of life via a product or service.
Before I go on, I should add that I’m worried that I am not completely fulfilling the aim of this blog: writing about weird thoughts I have while sat on the toilet. This new interest about straplines didn’t come to me while on the toilet, but, rather, while on a train (and not on a train toilet due to previous bad experience – see last entry).
So here are some recently spotted straplines that annoy, amuse and / or interest me:
At Stafford Station I came across this one:
- Staffordshire University: The home of great minds
This intrigues me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am a student of Staffordshire University so I ought to be flattered that this strapline indicates I have a great mind. Thank you, Stafford station! Secondly, this might imply that other towns which contain great upstanding educational establishments do not house great minds. Or if they do, perhaps their stations also ought to declare: Exeter University: The home of great minds, Bath University: The home of great minds. Then where do all the dunces live? On the roads between these towns?
At Crewe station I saw this one:
- Virgin Trains: Everyone home safely everyday
This one annoyed me because it is clumsy. It is the ‘everyone’ and ‘everyday’ combination that I stumble over. And is it true? Not sure it is. It should say ‘Virgin Trains: Everyone home at some point and hopefully in one piece’.
I then also came across this one:
- Staffordshire: The creative county
No offense to the lovely Staffordshire but I’m not sure it is renowned for housing more creativity than, say, Oxfordshire, or Nottinghamshire, or Devon. I reckon if a scientific study was to be carried out on the total creative output from the counties of England that Staffordshire might fare quite well, but would it come top? It may be the home of great minds but are they creative great minds?
Later at home after my train journey, upon scanning Facebook I saw this one:
- Happiness has no formula
What does that mean? Happiness is not a science. Of course there is no formula. Although five tonnes of money might help, mixed with eight acres of sunshine and three kilogrammes of smiles from passers by.
My hometown’s strap line is:
- Shrewsbury: The original one-off
Do not ‘original’ and ‘one-off’ mean the same thing? It’s almost as annoying as ‘very unique’.
On Monday at college I saw this one:
- Stay hungry, stay foolish
So the home of great minds (i.e. Staffordshire University) can only keep its crown if those minds keep eating?
Here are some famous (and less famous) ones that irritate me:
- Apple: Think different (sound advice but what does it have to do with iPods, iPhones and Macintosh computers?)
- Tesco: Every little helps (oooh I really don’t like this often heard strapline)
- Gillette: The best a man can get (that’s quite a claim)
- Honda: The power of dreams (airy fairy and meaningless)
- HSBC: The world’s local bank (is there a branch in Iwatsuki?)
- L’oreal: Because you’re worth it (this tops the worst)
And finally, local governments make the best straplines and here are just a few:
- Ashford Council: Best placed in Britain
- Chorley Borough Council: Making Chorley Smile
- Christchurch Council: Where time is pleasant
- Dartford Borough Council: If only all Councils were like Dartford
- Durham Council: Altogether better
- Knowsley Council: The Future is Knowsley
- Somerset County Council: Opportunity when you want it, help when you need it
I’m going to go live in Knowsley or Dartford. I can’t decide which is the best place to be.
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