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|SHOULD WE CALL YOU NOW?
Wateridge is a director at The Research
Business International, specialising in
qualitative advertising and strategic brand
research. He began his career at Grand Metropolitan
Brewery as a market-research executive,
then moved into account planning at BST-BDDP.
From there he joined the Brand Development
Unit of TRBI.
Donaghey started his career in qualitative
research in 1984, training at Q Search,
before moving to Davies Riley-Smith Maclay.
He joined The Research Business International
in 1988, focusing on brand-essence studies
and advertising-development research. He
is now a board director and recently brought
his expertise to Verve, TRBI's youth consultancy.
This article first
appeared in Admap, October 1998,
and was sourced from the
World Advertising Research Center
reprinted with permission.
© 1998 NTC Publications Ltd
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The Endline: Important Tool
Or Hackneyed Device?
Brian Donaghey and Steve Wateridge,
of The Research Business International,
discuss new evidence in the role and value
of slogans, straplines and endlines
debate seems to be stirring within the marketing and advertising
community over the role and value of endlines; is the endline
going through its death throes (and should it be allowed
to die), or are endlines an important part of our advertising
heritage that should be sustained and celebrated? It has
been suggested that endlines now carry little weight with
marketers and creatives compared to the past,
that while some clients feel the need for an endline, agencies
are much more equivocal. There is however little published
evidence on the consumer's perspective on this debate. This
article argues that, treated sensitively, endlines can still
operate very effectively for consumers as a means of triggering
important brand associations.
recent successful campaigns have not carried endlines and
this has not been to their detriment. It has been asked
whether consumers even notice or care whether an advertisement
or campaign carries an endline. In preparation for this
article, we asked a fair number of consumers this question.
In general, the consensus was that so many endlines fail
to register, that it is often impossible to say whether
an advertisement did or did not actually have one. (A consequence
of poor endlines or the industry abandoning the device?)
This is not to say, however, that consumers
do not enjoy and respond positively to endlines or slogans,
and there is no doubt that among many people, particularly
slogans still become incorporated into everyday language
and take their place as part of the vernacular. From our
observations as qualitative researchers, this not only keeps
a particular brand name top-of-mind, but bolsters the consumer
relationship with advertising, keeping it as salient a part
of their lives as are some of their favourite films and
TV programmes. This can be a clear bonus from having (good)
endlines: if they get talked about, remembered and used
in common language, they help keep the world of advertising
alive and well and living in consumers' minds. This does,
of course, depend on the extent to which there are good,
memorable, catchy endlines 'out there', which also have
real issue is the role of the endline. Historically, for
many agencies, the value of an endline lay in the fact that
it served as an encapsulation of an idea, which could then
be executed and re-executed: when you read you begin with
A, B, C; when you write you begin with an endline. From
the consumer perspective, the rationale for an endline is
that it acts as a device to link an advertising campaign
together and serves
as a trigger
to recall that advertising or brand. We accept this, and
we could say that 'endlines trigger parts that other creative
devices cannot reach' -- but this would only be partially
true. Further, few endlines are used in this way, and different
endlines or slogans allow access to the brand or advertising
in different ways, depending on the nature of the endline
and the advertising.
preparing this article, we conducted some exploratory research
among a small sample of 100 people (60% female, 40% male)
aged between 17 and 45. The objective was to see what consumers
felt about endlines, whether they could remember any, or
attribute brands to a selection of endlines, and what they
perceived the role of endlines to be. The research consisted
of 15-minute qualitative interviews, in hall, exploring
consumer attitudes towards slogans and looking
levels and type of recall for a random selection of primarily
fmcg brand endlines (past and present), and a random selection
of brands. Given the small-scale nature of the study, the
bias towards fmcg rather than financial services or car
brands, and South-East locations, the findings are hardly
scientific. Nevertheless, they provide scope for some hypotheses,
and a number of interesting, though not very surprising,
- Famous slogans from the past were consistently attributed
to the correct brand, although few were able to remember
many executional details from the advertising which accompanied
the slogan. Nevertheless, these slogans still had the
power to deliver a message in relation to the brand, or
to trigger pack or branding device recall (eg, 'for great
lager, follow the bear').
- Some endlines, (mostly more recent), when correctly
attributed to the brand, served to trigger sounds and
images from the advertising executions themselves, indicating
that endlines can operate as a gateway into the creative,
with all its associated rational and emotional communications.
The Kit Kat, Tango and Boddington's endlines are good
examples of where this occurs.
- Recall was often assisted when the slogan or ad had
been accompanied by a jingle. TSB, Hamlet, Heinz Baked
Beans, Martini and the Hofmeister fell into this group.
- Finally, some more recent ads, while not bringing the
creative to mind in this much detail, were strongly linked
to brand logo, symbol, packaging or other branding devices,
particularly for the target consumers for the advertising.
Moreover, some of these seemed to operate beyond the realms
of the advertising idea, in that they appeared to express
the brand philosophy, reflecting a brand attitude which
mirrored real consumer sentiment. 'Just do it' for Nike
and BT's 'It's good to talk' are examples.
in addressing the consumer with its 'You know when¶' phrase,
rather than just making a statement about the product, is
almost one of this group. With Tango, a clear brand attitude
is linked to the endline, which in turn promises the
something more than a product experience. In generating
the desire to be 'Tangoed' or even to be a 'Tango sort of
guy', the endline operates as a call to action, in a similar
way to Nike's 'Just do it'.
seems to be some uncertainty within the industry as to what
the difference between a 'slogan' and a 'strapline' is.
Our view is that the difference lies in the extent to which
the consumer is called to action or promised something active.
Thus while a strapline can be seen purely as a summation
of the execution or campaign relating to a product benefit
or branding device (eg, 'Ask before you borrow it' -- Nissan),
a slogan is more potent, incorporating a statement of a
brand (almost corporate) belief system at a level beyond
product delivery, within which a call to action might operate
(eg, BT -- 'It's good to talk').
But maybe this is forcing the issue, as good
straplines themselves, after time, can seem to take on slogan-like
qualities. Moreover, even if these can be seen as two approaches,
it would be hard to argue that one approach is better than
the other. This is dependent on what is expected of the
endline, the role of the advertising, how transferable to
other media the endline needs to be, and so on. From a consumer
perspective, they are in effect, one and the same, and for
the purposes of this article we have used the term 'endline'
as a 'catch-all'.
and remembering an endline
important point is that the links between the endline and
the brand and its imagery can only operate if the endline
is remembered. We would argue that it is the extent to which
the endline is memorable and correctly attributed to a brand
that lies at the heart of assessing whether it is good or
the endline is not remembered, it is not really doing anything.
If it is remembered, this can certainly help the way in
which brand meaning is stored. However, you may ask: 'What
if the endline is memorable and remembered, but thought
to be obvious, tacky, cheesy, clich¬d, unimaginative?' We
feel that, provided the execution and creative idea are
well received, this will not damage the advertising, but
it can modify a generally positive response by letting down
the ad at the end.
and how are endlines remembered
now want to consider those endlines which performed well
or poorly in terms of recall and correct brand association.
The endlines which performed well are listed
in Exhibit 1 (below) along with the percentages of 'correct
brand association' for the line.
that performed poorly, all scoring less than 40%, included
Amex, Nurofen, Budweiser, Tetley, Ford Escort, Stella Artois,
John Smith's and Doritos. Nevertheless, some of these performed
much better among their target audiences, for example Doritos
with younger adults/teenagers and Stella Artois with male
Exhibit 1 (read down)
% correctly attributing to brand
(Have a Break...)
(Black and white)
Black Label (I bet...)
(Once you pop...)
(... Put it on)
Lottery (It could be you)
(The cream of...)
Source: RBI Research 1998
|It is not difficult to understand
It is not difficult
to understand why some of the top scorers were performing
well: campaign longevity and/or a large adspend certainly
help explain the high and correct brand associations for
Kit Kat, Milk Tray, Carling Black Label and The National
Lottery. Nevertheless, even within these campaigns other
factors do come into play. For example, with 'Have a break,
have a Kit Kat' the slogan relates to the core sequence
in the advertising &endash; the break, which itself
has dual meaning &endash; breaking the chocolate, breaking
from activity. The dual meaning of 'The cream of Manchester'
also works well, so that the endline is seen as clever.
It is also highly synergetic with the executions, which
are all about
a 'Mancunian' attitude. 'I bet he drinks... Carling Black
Label' is occasionally misattributed to Carlsberg (Probably)
and vice versa, reflecting the very similar brand names,
but on the whole, time has allowed accurate associations.
In both cases the executions are seen to 'build up' to the
endline, the endline being the resolution for the storyline.
This serves to add impact, reward and amuse, thus ensuring
good recall. Moreover, the brand name is a crucial part
of the endline. Tango is also hard to misattribute, given
that the name is part of the endline. Further, its power
lies in the experiential promise of the line which relates
to both product and brand attitude.
future's bright' strapline has a good fit with the surreal
quality of the advertising and the use of the colour orange,
while the incongruity of the brand name within the sector
aids memorability. 'Mum's gone to Iceland', with its play
on the store name, works due to the benefit of having Iceland
as a name. Finally 'It could be you' is intrinsically linked
with the visual 'finger' mnemonic (supported by the logo),
Pringles is somewhat
different, in that it is not so well-established a campaign,
yet it is well recalled and associated with the brand. The
factors helping this are the catchiness of the line, its
rhythm and the fact it conveys a product truth -- the top
'pops', and Pringles are moreish.
In short, an onomatopoeic use of endline
which works well.
|The Line: Silent or Spoken?
These are some
of the factors contributing to the 'performance' of these
endlines. Another factor is that most of these slogans tend
to be (or started off being), spoken, and the way in which
they are spoken can further help registration. Carlsberg's
'Probably' and 'You'll know when you've been Tangoed' work
in this way, with the voice adding a further dimension to
the endline. This is not to say that endlines have to be
spoken. In some instances this can seem like hitting the
consumer over the head with a slogan. In other instances,
a voice can add deeper meaning, weight, authority or attitude.
the poor recall of Caffrey's 'Strong words softly spoken',
despite high recall of the advertising, suggests that some
endlines can fail to register if not spoken. In this instance
a silent endline may have been thought appropriate to commercials
based on mood and emotions. It could be argued that talking
about words and speech (a rational domain) bore little relationship
to the feelings (an emotional domain) generated by this
campaign: the apparent synergy between the endline and creative
is quite tenuous.
And what of those
endlines that were not so well-remembered? Needless to say,
if the ads themselves are not well-remembered, neither are
the endlines. Nevertheless, endlines for well-known campaigns
can also not register. Budweiser's 'The genuine article',
in the absence of a category reference, can lack meaning
and be seen as a generic promise applying to any category.
'Targeted relief from pain', for Nurofen, also suffers from
being too generic when divorced from the advertising. This
is not to say a generic promise cannot be utilised in an
endline, but these seem to register more strongly where
the brand name, a clear brand device or occasionally 'structural
branding' is incorporated as part of the endline (eg, 'Any
time, any place, anywhere').
Another obstacle to good endline recall can be 'information
the executions are so full of other triggers to recall related
to the brand proposition that the endline is 'swallowed
up'. John Smith's use of Jack Dee, and the no gimmicks thought
(combined with gimmicks) results in the 'No Nonsense' endline
getting lost. This does not detract from the commercials,
but it does appear that the slogan adds little to the advertising
for consumers. The essence of the communication for the
brand has been registered in other ways. Consequently, the
endline operates purely as a sign-off rather than as a slogan
or endline in the truer sense of the word (ie a phrase that
delivers an USP or branding by resolving the executional
storyline and giving it meaning, or acts as a memorable
phrase that encapsulates the advertising idea). We would
question the need for such 'sign-offs', which do not seem
to add anything.
are those which can live divorced from the creative, yet
carry with them the creative idea and an image of the brand.
This is reinforced by the way in which people,
when confronted with the brand name, are unable to think
of a slogan for the likes of John Smith's, Budweiser, Nurofen.
Indeed, recall of a slogan, when given the brand name, is
generally lower than the other way round, with notable
Carlsberg and Hula Hoops. Nevertheless, there is considerable
correlation between being shown a slogan and recalling the
brand (or not) and being shown the brand and knowing the
slogan (or not).
We have focused here on some reasons
as to how and why certain endlines work well, working well
being assessed in this instance by memorability and correct
does not really address the issue as to whether endlines
are desirable in themselves. Advertisers can believe an
endline to be crucial. There is a desire to see the brand
pithily summed up and encapsulated. But this can conflict
with the agency creative's desire for freedom: trying to
come up with ideas which fit the line can be too restricting.
This raises some difficult issues: the role of advertising,
the task for a given piece of advertising, and the thorny
area of advertising effectiveness and its measurement.
We would suggest that advertising is at its
most effective when it alters purchase intention and/or
purchase behaviour to the benefit of the brand. At the risk
of sounding simplistic, good advertising is well and fondly
this can contribute to purchase intention and behaviour.
A potent slogan or endline can be part of the way in which
the advertising is stored. Moreover, at its mention, a host
of motivating brand associations can be triggered. Nevertheless,
there are other triggers to advertising communications or
brand imagery, the pack and the name itself being key at
point of purchase. Moreover, the endline can trigger a whole
range of motivating brand associations. These might not
necessarily relate, however, to the prime communication
intent of the advertising.
If this is the case, is there a function
of the endline outside the ad itself?
We have seen
that endlines are not essential to the memorability of a
campaign, although they can add an extra dimension to the
idea (in consumers' minds) and can stamp the idea home.
For many consumers, however, the role of the endline is
to aid memorability of the advertising, through reinforcement
of the advertising message and/or creative idea, and to
serve as a trigger for recall.
A key question is: 'how often are consumers
seeing the endline (which can trigger the recall of brand
imagery) divorced from the advertising?' It can usefully
do this at point of purchase. Indeed, much of the value
of the endline can lie here, and this has implications for
use of the slogan on pack or point-of-sale material. Our
research shows that for campaigns with strong endlines,
this could serve
a useful purpose, linking the elements of the communications
mix together at the point of sale.
The other value of endlines is that
they do get talked about, particularly by the young -- but
perhaps no more than a catchy line from within the execution,
for example 'By 'eck, it's gorgeous' or 'You're spoiling
us', the latter being said with ironic reference to the
Ferrero Rocher advertising. This brings us back to the issue
of memorable catchphrases or slogans which are nevertheless
deemed 'cheesy' by consumers, and are used with a sense
of considerable irony in common parlance. What is the effect
of this on the brand? True, the brand will be remembered,
but the light in which it is remembered seems more questionable.
not necessarily a hackneyed device, although some of them
can seem clich¬d. Neither are they obviously useful selling
tools unless used to strong effect at point of purchase.
They serve to underpin a campaign, and it could be argued
that changing a well-loved endline when moving a campaign
on could have a detrimental effect on the brand. Endlines
can, however, get tired unless fresh creative work is able
to sustain their appeal. When endlines are relevant and
have meaning for their audience, either in relation to target
attitudes or to the product in question, they carry weight
and keep the brand salient. If they fail in this respect
they can seem clich¬d, dated and unnecessary.
If an endline is to work, by which
we mean that it is memorable, meaningful, believable and
not clich¬d, there are several key factors which must be
- Will it appear slapped on? This will be the case when
the endline lacks synergy with the creative idea or even
with the product being advertised.
- Is it too generic a line, when divorced from the content
of the advertising or brand name? In this case it will
not be memorable or meaningful.
- Is it clever? There are many ways in which slogans or
endlines can be seen as clever. In particular, phrases
with dual meaning ('The Cream of Manchester'), onomatopoeic
rhythm (Pringles), or challenging/ suggestive phrases
(Castlemaine XXXX) seem to work well.
- Does it tap into or relate to the target market's view
of the world, either in relation to the product category,
or in broader terms? Nike's 'Just do it' and Playstation's
'Never underestimate the power...' succeed at these levels.
Nike, in particular, captures the spirit of a large section
of its market, creating the impression the brand understands
them and is behind them.
- Is it believable? This will be a problem when the endline,
taken literally, is seen to overclaim and is therefore
- Will it work if it is not spoken? If it is spoken, will
it be 'too much'?
- Is it campaignable, or is it potentially too restrictive
for the creative?
If satisfactory answers cannot be given to
these questions, it may not be worth struggling to get 'any
old endline', as it is likely to be irrelevant and unhelpful.
AdSlogans.com -- Wise Words/2