[insert generic slogan here]

There’s an ad campaign in the Brussels metro at the moment for Celio clothing stores. A young man wearing a jacket, t-shirt and bright red trousers leaps into the air, full of joie de vivre. The slogan next to him says “Life, enjoy”.

“Life, enjoy”. What exactly does that mean? Apart from the nonsensical punctuation, what does that tell us about the product, or the company selling it? That I will finally be able to enjoy life if I buy a pair of red trousers?

Similarly there’s a Pepsi ad in the street near my office which says “Live for now”. Silly me, there I was living for last Tuesday when I should have been living for now. Thanks, Pepsi!

Many things bother me about this kind of advertising slogan. Firstly there’s the fact that presumably someone somewhere was paid a not inconsiderable amount of money to “write” this generic piffle. Secondly, it tells us nothing specific about the product being sold: most of these phrases are entirely indistinguishable and interchangeable. And why do they even need a slogan anyway? They’re not telling us anything useful. I guess they feel they’re creating a “brand identity” or some such bollocks but when it’s this wishy-washy and meaningless surely that defeats the object.

It reminds me of the trend a few years back for TV ads which consisted of a selection of beautifully-shot life events (weddings, births, playing with your children, exotic holidays, and other generic scenes of a happy life). They all looked the same, except for the company name and slogan at the end, usually along the lines of “Gribble’s Widgets: for the way you live today”.