A Strong and Stable SCAB by @MadDavison

A Strong and Stable SCAB

By Mark Davison


Over the past two weeks Marc has set us a few different briefs to work on our headline writing. He is worried that while our ideas are great, our headlines aren’t quite at the same standard yet. But if the headline is the thing that draws you into an ad, the premise of the joke, then the strap is the punch line.


Good straplines can define a brand’s tone of voice, define its personality, and set the tone of its advertising for years.




It does exactly what it says on the tin.


Good things come to those who wait.


Just do it


We try harder.


Beanz meanz Heinz


These lines, for some even 40 years on, still have meaning, still resonate and still remind you of the campaigns that they spawned. They clearly and concisely communicated the essence of their brands and the ideas behind their campaigns.


But straplines seem to have changed. Without wanting to burn any bridges before I even get my foot in Ad Land’s door, the lines we used to see even 10, 15 years ago, have been replaced by wanky, self referential lines that really, when you boil it down, don’t mean anything. Take a look at the advertising around us right now, “the smarter” this, and “the art of” that.


Why is this? In the age of sound bites, 140 character tweets and click bait headlines, you could be forgiven for thinking that the ability to write short, succinct and creative lines would be prized above all else.


Is it because of difficult clients? Because no one reads copy any more? Because answering the client’s problem is now more important than answering the consumer’s? Or is it because traditional straplines just aren’t useful? Honestly, it’s going to take someone with far more experience to answer that question, so I’ll leave that discussion for Twitter.


But straplines are by no means dead. They’re most definitely alive and kicking in the slogan-heavy world of politics. We’re going to “Take back control”, build a “Strong and Stable” government, or create a country “for the many, not the few”.


Political slogans have power. They are the embodiment of a thought, an ideal, they stand for something and have a point of view. That’s why people repeat them, chant them, shout them and write about them. And in the world of Byron Sharp and salience they are easy to plaster across everything, and repeated in every interview, until you can’t help but believe them.


So write your straplines with that same passion. Write them to say something, to mean something and write them with a point of view. Because if “make America great again” can change the world, then a good strapline can make a campaign that will be remembered.

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