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Home / Culture and Society / Language Matters in Life and Business: Minimalism Can Pay Major Dividends
Slogans are as key as product names for marketing, and the shorter the sweeter, especially in the 140-character Twitter era. Sometimes advertisers hit the nail on the head. Other times they don't.

Language Matters in Life and Business: Minimalism Can Pay Major Dividends

trivago logoSlogans are as key as product names for marketing, and the shorter the sweeter, especially in the 140-character Twitter era. Sometimes advertisers hit the nail on the head. Other times they don’t.

You can look for good travel deals on a plethora of sites. So when Trivago wanted to introduce its new brand, it came up with a slogan stripped to the absolute minimum, focused and concise: “Hotel? Trivago.”

Voiced by a TV spokesman with a distinctive delivery, it works. The first place I went the other day when I was looking for a hotel in an unfamiliar city was the Trivago website, even though I’d never been there before.

Never mind that the brand name is a nonsense word. I suppose it’s meant to evoke the words “TRIp, VAcation, GO.” But the slogan, not the word, is what grabs you.

Another great example is the long-running Foster’s beer campaign with its unforgettable slogan, voiced by an actor with an Aussie accent: “Foster’s – Australian for Beer.” It’s minimalist. Evocative. Perfect.

Minimalism applies to product names too. One of my favorite magazines is Fast Company. The very name sums up the whirlwind of technological advances and marketing savvy that defines the 21st-century business world the magazine covers. Fast. Company. ‘Nuff said.

I saw the tactic in process today in a TV commercial for shoe vendor Payless’s “BOGO” campaign. BOGO is internet slang for “buy one get one,” but Payless is trying to co-opt and embed it as a kind of sub-brand. The script goes like this:

payless bogo commercial“Know my favorite thing about Bogo?” “Buying one pair of shoes and getting another half off?” “Yes!” “And all our favorite styles are on sale, no exclusions?” “Correct. But I love the way the word ‘Bogo’ sums it all up.”

In this case the meaning isn’t so obvious. The commercial doesn’t take the trouble to explain the acronym, merely trying to present it as synonymous with good deals on shoes. The script has to point out how the campaign name “sums it all up” – because it really doesn’t, not yet anyway. Just as with a joke, if you have to explain it, it doesn’t work.

Though the campaign has been underway for a while now, I’m not sure Payless has nailed down “BOGO” as its own yet. Will its strategy to compress brand awareness to a tiny four-letter acronym ultimately succeed? The answer is pretty minimalist too: Only time will tell.

 

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.

Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.

Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he’s a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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