Our Slogan Is Terrible
"Buy 'Mr. Dog' for small yappy-type dogs, and maybe they'll shut the fuck up."Slogans used by fictional businesses tend to be bad. By that we mean, of course, very, very bad. They come in many flavors, including:
- Self-referential: "Alice's Groceries. We have a slogan!"
- Unintended second meaning: "Bob's Engine Repair. We'll clean out your tailpipe!"
- Too honest: "Chris's Deli. Now transmitting salmonella to only 5% of our customers!"
- Captain Obvious: "Dan's Pizza Delivery. We deliver pizzas!"
- Complete non sequitur: "Elaine's Dance Studio. Because everyone loves pineapples!"
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Frederick's Ovens. Absolutely no chance of catching fire after using our products!"
- Self-Deprecating Humor: "Our slogan is terrible."
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- The Far Side: I cuss, you cuss, we all cuss for asparagus!
- Marvel's Roxxon Oil corporation, in the 1989 "Marvel: A Year in Review" (which was written as an in-universe magazine), had a big ad where in parody of the Exxon Valdez spill, their slogan was "There's plenty more where that came from."
- Walter Moers has an entire strip about a creative company owner losing his knack for catchy slogans as he grows old and senile, to the point that everyone is hugely relieved when he finally dies. Unfortunately he has willed that all of his remaining slogans must stay in use... or all the money goes into the Invented Just To Annoy My Inheritors trust. The marketing department is forced to run each slogan above a foot-high disclaimer asking the reader to consider the mental state of its author.
- "America's Best Comics! Where 'quality' isn't just a motto — it's a slogan!"
- Turnabout Storm has Phoenix blaming the slow business on the stupid slogan his assistant Maya came up with for his law office: "Wright & Co. Office: Defending you like it's nuttin' baby!". Later on this becomes the least of his problems.
Phoenix: That silly slogan Maya came up with must be what's making business this slow. I should really have it revised... Scratch that, I NEED to have it revised! Who are we trying to attract, grade-school students?
- After Phoenix returns home, he tells Maya about her silly slogan, but Maya just thinks Phoenix isn't telling it with enough "oomph!".
- The Dudley Moore vehicle Crazy People concerned Moore as an adman who went a bit crazy, telling people "the truth." Real products were used, such as: "Metamucil. It helps you go to the toilet. If you don't use it, you'll get cancer and die." "Jaguar — the car for men who want handjobs from beautiful women." "Volvo — they're boxy but they're good." and finally "Sony: Because Caucasians are just too damn tall."
- Idiocracy: "Brawndo. It's got electrolytes!" Also: "Carl's Jr. Fuck you, I'm eating."
- The "Ocean View Soap" slogans in The Muppets Take Manhattan - "Ocean Breeze Soap: For People Who Don't Want To Stink"; "Ocean Breeze Soap: It's Just Like Taking An Ocean Cruise Except There's No Boat And You Don't Actually Go Anywhere" and the winner "Ocean Breeze Soap Will Get You Clean". It gets funnier when one of the other frogs says, "You mean, just tell people what the product does? No ones ever tried that."
- In Bill Murray's Scrooged, his television network has the cringe-inducing Christmas slogan "Yule love it!" ABC's slogan during the 1985-1986 season (when Scrooged was being filmed) was "You'll Love it!"
- Cult film Putney Swope is this and then some, showing an advertising firm after the Token Black gets control and steers the entire company into most unusual waters.
- Johnny and the Dead: "If it's a boot, it's a Blackbury!" Later on, the company who wants to destroy the graveyard has the slogan "Forward to the future". Johnny says it makes the boot slogan sound good in comparison.
- The Sheriff of Yrnameer has a Running Gag with the Firestick weapon marketing department and the tendency of their slogans to increase the size of the resulting holes in proportion to the model number of the firearm in question.
- An Azazel story features the slogan "Shrink the Stink!" which is then inexplicably successful.
- In Soul Music, Plugger the shoemaker comes up with "PLUGGERS. They've Got Soles. Feel the Nales."
- The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide comes up with a lot of these, including Bucket's Mostly Cheese Spreads "They really spread!" and Higgs and Meakin chocolatiers "For chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in someone else's".
- The advertisements at the back of the Thursday Next novels. Why not holiday in the People's Socialist Republic of Wales, slogan "Not always raining"?
- Dave Barry Slept Here points to the failure of advertising campaigns like these to recruit new sailors:
BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE!
Become a Hardy Mariner
"Get Lost and Die."
Live Action TV
- In 30 Rock, the Sheinhardt Wig company has the slogan "Not Poisoning Rivers Since 1997", as well as "You Can Always Tell A Sheinhardt" (a terrible slogan for a wig manufacturer, specifically).
- On Better Off Ted, a running gag was commercials for the company. They would always end with a slogan. Some were only funny in context, but others fit this trope, including:
- "Teamwork- it keeps our employees gruntled"
- "Virtual Dynamics- because you can't spell INDIVIDUAL without VIRIDIAN. And U.(pause) And an L."
- "Food. Yum."
- And, after the show was preempted for a Presidential Address- "When presidents talk, Americans get hurt."
- The Wesayso Corporation on Dinosaurs: "WESAYSO: We'll do what's right, if you leave us alone," "WESAYSO: We don't like to have our feelings hurt" and "WESAYSO: We know where you live."
- A faux commercial on the BBC comedy The Goodies has a spot for Bristo's gravy in which "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" songwriter Rolf Harris (Graeme Garden) comes home for dinner at his mum's (Tim Brooke-Taylor), takes a bite of his dinner with the gravy and keels over dead. The tagline: "Bristo's...gets rid of Rolf Harrises fast!"
Harvest MoonThe scent that lingersBuy someOr I'll break your fingers!
- And "Might As Well Be String" is full of these, e.g,:
- Monty Python's Flying Circus "Conquistador Coffee" sketch. An ad writer comes up with campaign slogans such as "Conquistador Coffee brings a new meaning to the word vomit" and "The tingling fresh coffee which brings you exciting new cholera, mange, Singapore ear, dropsy, the clap, hard pad and athlete's head. From the House of Conquistador". And, from an unrelated Parody Commercial: "Buy Whizzo Butter and go to Heaven!"
- My Name Is Earl - in the backstory Earl and Randy went to the Right Choice Ranch for troubled youth, which went through a series of Accidental Innuendo slogans that imply pedophilia: "Touching Bad Boys Since 1963" - "Bringing Boys To Their Knees Since 1963" - "Forcing Boys To Turn Around Since 1963" - "We Don't Do Anything Inappropriate to The Boys"
- Saturday Night Live:
- "Nut-rific, it does nut taste good!"
- Most (if not all) of Saturday Night Live's fake commercials (and sometimes, the station IDs to real cable networks they parody, i.e., "You're watching The Food Network. Porn for fat people," or "You're watching A&E, which means you're old or you fell asleep on the remote.") will have this.
- The Thin Blue Line's town had the slogan "It's not as bad as you think".
- A sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look featured an advertising company which specialized in creating slogans that simply described what a company did in a slightly irritating way.
Robert: Once you cressp, you just can't splessp!David: That doesn't make any sense!Robert: (spits crisps out) Oh, GOD, they're horrid!
- The fake ad for Cressps, an apparently healthy deep fried crisp/chip substitute.
- In WKRP in Cincinnati, most businesses that advertise on the title radio station have hilariously bad slogans. Standouts include "Hutchins' Community Hospital: Where malpractice is rapidly becoming a thing of the past!" and the bait-selling business "Red Wigglers: the Cadillac of worms!"
- They did an entire episode about trying to get rid of a sponsor (Ferriman Funeral Home). They attempted to do a commercial so outrageous that he'd tear up his contract in disgust (a singing commercial with a bouncy tune: it ain't no use to deny it / one day you're gonna buy it). The client loved it.
- The Colbert Report's fake medicine company "Prescott Pharmaceuticals":
- "What doesn't kill you makes you part of our class-action settlement."
- "Now with more side effects! Collect 'em all!"
- "We have a medicine for any ailment caused by our previous medicine."
- "You might have gone blind even without taking our product."
- "See what everyone's suing about."
- "We'll put a smile on your face. And sometimes your spine."
- "Your body will thank you, because your torso has grown a mouth."
- "If you've never heard of us, we may have caused your memory loss."
- "One man's medical malpractice is another man's anatomical skeleton."
- "Quality pharmaceuticals since 1989. Established 1910."
- "We never settle for less. We settle out of court."
- Colbert also does this with parodies of Enforced Plugs for real companies, such as "Mazda: It's not your father's Oldsmobile. (Beat) Because it's a Mazda."
- The Daily Show often uses terrible slogans to comedic effect when titling segments. Often they have a joke about pedophilia.
- For a children's interest segment: "Jon Stewart Looks at Children's Things."
- A segment with cartoons: "Jon Stewart's Story Hole! Remember, it's our little secret."
- A segment on the negative influence of Twitter: "Jon Stewart Looks at Kid's Junk."
- The League of Gentlemen's Legz Akimbo theatre troupe display their slogan on their van: "Put yourself inside a child". The town of Royston Vasey itself is "You'll Never Leave!" which has omninous undertones.
- Home Improvement had a couple of these with Tim plugging Binford Tools on his Show Within a Show. "If it doesn't say Binford on it, somebody else makes it."
- On The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Reggie puts together a company to make and sell useless items. In keeping with this theme, he hires his incompetent son-in-law to create slogans for the firm.
Tom:: "Go to Grot Shops and get an eyeful/of Perrin's products with a wide range of goods that are really pretty awful."
Reggie: It almost rhymes and scans properly, that's the important thing. This is exactly what I'm paying you for.
Tom:: Thank you. Well, I'll just give you one more, perhaps: 'Grot is the ideal place for gifts/ because they're all on one floor/ so there aren't any lifts.' They aren't all of that standard, of course.
- On April Fools' Day 1975, most of the products in The Price Is Right's gag Showcase were described in a satirical manner. The cheap "organ" note was described as "Guaranteed to make you popular... unless people don't like you!"
- In an episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie that was supposedly Product Placement for "Tidyman's Carpets," Hugh delivered their slogan: "The deep shag that really satisfies."
- Parks and Recreation being a mockumentary about a town in Indiana, had a whole collection of bad slogans that were used throughout the history of the town.
- Highlights include: 1974-1976 slogan "Entering Pawnee, Engage with Zorp" after the town was taken over by a cult, the 1977-1985 slogan "It's Safe to be Here Now", and their current slogan "Pawnee: First in Friendship, Fourth in Obesity". Find them here.
- The Annals of Improbable Research ran fake ads for HMO Black (later HMO-NO), which advertised its avaricious health care plans with the too-honest slogan: "Because we care about you, and your pocketbook."
- In a Capitol Steps pre-song sketch, Pat Buchanan invites the audience to chant his new campaign slogan: "We Can't Stand Pat!"
- French Canadian Francois Perusse's radio skits Les Deux Minutes du Peuple frequently feature those. Notable example includes community radio CDKC (loosely translates from french to "broken CD") that uses a different one with every station ID and the man calling various businesses over the phone, each one answering with their slogan.
- "CDKC, one antenna, one listener. And sometimes just one antenna."
- The D Generation's spoof radio ads usually ended with one of these, such as "The Slag Club! Not just a nightclub, but a cheap hotel someone slapped a coat of paint on and renamed!".
- In Of Thee I Sing, the various campaign slogans waved in "Wintergreen for President" range from basic ("Win With Wintergreen") to idiotic ("A Vote for Wintergreen Is a Vote for Wintergreen") to dubious ("Wintergreen—The Flavor Lasts") to cynical ("He Kept Us Out of Jail").
- The Disney Theme Parks ride Star Tours II: The Adventures Continue uses Obi-Wan's "wretched hive of scum and villainy" description as an actual slogan for the cantina.
Jerk: You might as well make a tourism video that said "Detroit! It's a Shithole Full of People Who Steal!"
- The products advertised on GTA Radio have this come up a lot. For example, one of the taglines for Giggle Cream: "It's completely legal thanks to a loophole at the FDA!"
- In the Zork universe, Frobozz Electric, the evil technology conglomerate which replaced Frobozz Magic in the wake of the Magic Inquisition, has numerous such slogans in their public address announcements in Zork: Grand Inquisitor. Among these:
- "Frobozz Electric: We are the boss of you"
- "Frobozz Electric: We bring bad things to life"
- "Frobozz Electric: We bring good things to ourselves"
- You will see those often in the first two Oddworld games.
Scrab cakes: it will cost you an arm and a leg!Soulstorm Brew, new recipe: twice the bones, twice the taste, twice the price!
- In Megatraveller, SMIRC (The Spinward Marches Interplanetary Raiding Corporation, aka organized space pirates) have the slogan "We have what it takes to take what you have!"
- The default slogan for the Liberal cause in Liberal Crime Squad is "We Need A Slogan!" Squad members can intimidate Conservatives by shouting the slogan or use the slogan as their Famous Last Words.
- All over the place as flavor text in Penny Arcade Adventures:
- "Jim's Unguents: We Mix'Em Thick"
- "Perceival's Paints Can Be Applied To Surfaces"
- "Mediocre Pies: They're Just Alright"
- "Hats Now!"
- "What Makes It Grandma's Best Tea? All The Crushed Beetles"
- Mann Co. "We sell products and get in fights!"
- Later expanded to "We make Hats, Guns, Bats, Bombs, Bazookas, Camera Beards, Comics, Magazines, Portable Baccarat Detectors, Banners, Swords, Shields and get in fights! Non-employees welcome for gorilla-wrestling Fridays."
- Mann Co Corpse-Grade Quicklime "Just Add Body!"
- The slogan for EarthBound (the actual one, used for marketing) is "This Game Stinks". Yeah, that's probably why the sales went badly.
- The sponsors' advertisements from the beginning of Runner2:
"Schlörtz Premium Malt Fluid: It's wet!""Shorty's Milk Brine: It could be worse!"
- Fallen London
"Best wares. Best prices. No spiders."
- The Echo Bazaar has some normal-sounding slogans, but the one for Nikolas Pawnbrokers is a little unsettling:
"Celebrating Twenty Years Without An Apostrophe"
- Meanwhile, the one for Merrigans Exchange is just silly
- In Wario: Master of Disguise, one of the antagonists is a Corrupt Corporate Executive named Carpaccio. His company's slogan is "We're hard at work watching your back... That way it's easier to pick your pocket!"
- Subnormality - ZAP Protein Snack: "Don't buy it - it's a ripoff!!"
- Awkward Zombie has this little gem: "Luigi's Vacuums! We suck!"
- Very similar to a real life not-an-example (due to the double meaning being 100% intentional) from the 1960s: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
- A prison tattoo artist in Something*Positive uses the slogan "Come see Edna, you won't get hepatitis!"
- The Girl in A Girl and Her Fed drinks at a bar called Captain Tony's: "We Will Get You Drunk".
- Homestar Runner loves to make these. Here are some examples:
- "Homestarrunner.net. It's dot-com!"
- "Bubs' Old Pizza: It's-a Really Old!"
- "Cheat Commandos. Buy all our playsets and toys!"
- Fluffy Puff Marshmallows: "They're fluffity, they're puffity, one-two-three-four-five."
- And for the Halloween-colored "Malloweens": "They're orange, doot doot. They're black, doot doot. Look for the one with me on the bag. Dressed as a vampire."
- "Styles upon Styles. Steep Prices and Trees!"
- "Blubb-O's. You guessed it, we're called Blubb-O's."
- "Pistols for Pandas. This good cause is good! ...'cause!"
- "Videlectrix. We use computers... to make video games!"
- The Onion: In this article, an ad agency finds out the hard way that the slogans "Merit—Makin' You Feel All Small 'n' Flaccid" and "Merit—Love That Limply Dangling Taste" do not encourage 35- to 50-year-old males to buy cigarettes. In the wake of this marketing failure, the agency prepares to roll out its campaign to sell tampons with slogans like "Tampax—For Those Awkward Bleeding-From-Your-Crotch Days."
- One variation on the viral video "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video" includes the slogan "We're not Detroit!"
- A number of cartoons and shows, including Looney Tunes, The Beverly Hillbillies and The Flintstones, had a joke about a fictitious film company called Miracle Pictures which had the motto "If it's a good picture, it's a Miracle!"
- Every single organization in The Simpsons has such a slogan. From Springfield Prison - "If you were a murderer, you'd be home by now!" - to Costington's Department Store - "Over a Century Without a Slogan".
- Monstromart: "Where shopping is a baffling ordeal"
- Don't forget "Stinking Fish Reality. With a name this bad, we've gotta be good."
- On an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton tries to come up with a slogan for the Chum Bucket. He originally uses 'Chum is Metabolic Fuel', but Patrick changes it to the even more nonsensical 'Chum is Fum', at which point the Chum Bucket business booms.
- Futurama: "Slurm! It's highly addictive!"
- Continuing the reversal above, the slogan for heroin and crack vending machines is simply "Refreshing!"
- Gunderson's Unshelled Nuts. They're nut so good!
- Fishy Joe's: "Come for the food then get the hell out."
- Bachelor Chow: "Now with flavor."
- In House of Mouse, one of the types of cartoons is "Mickey, Donald and Goofy run a business. Hilarity Ensues." Often, their business's name is something straightforward that just says what they do (though "what they do" is often absurdly specific or otherwise implausible), and the tag line Mickey answers the phone with is just a repetition of that. For example, "Organ Donors. We donate organs!" or "Roller Coaster Painters. We paint roller coasters!"
- The Boondocks proposed a number of slogans for BET: "BET - it's what's on in the background," "BET - tell it to someone who gives a fuck," and "BET - 'cause you niggas got nothing better to watch."
- Unintentional example: in The Backyardigans episode "Chichen-Itza Pizza", the slogan of the titular pizzeria is "We deliver".
- Family Guy
- When Peter advertises for a car dealership, the slogan is "At Wilkins Hyundai and Subaru, we have Hyundais and Subarus!"
- "Lifetime: Television for idiots."
- Tasty Juice: drink it then convert it to pee.
- Gravity Falls
Stan: Stan-Vac! It sucks more than anything. (door slams) Gotta work on that.
- In "Dipper vs. Manliness", the slogan on Greasy's Diner is "We have food."
- In a flashback in "Dreamscapers" we see Stan selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door.
- Stan's flashback in "A Tale of Two Stans" shows a few more products with terrible slogans Stan tried to sell for a living, including the Sham-Total ("It's a total sham!") and Rip-Off bandages ("They WON'T give you rashes!").
- "The land of rape and honey" for the town of Tisdale; "rape" is the original name of canola plants. They're thinking of changing it though.
- An inordinate number of car dealers who got the short stick on locations away from a visible highway try to make the best of it by mentioning they're 'cleverly located behind the mall' or 'a little gem hidden four blocks from the highway'.
- Buffalo, NY car dealer "Mike Barney Nissan" has the slogan "Awesome Cars, Great Dealership... Lousy Jingle".
- Slogan of 105.9, the classic rock radio station in Chicago: "Of all the radio stations in Chicago... we're one of them." It's now a simulcast of all-news WBBM, so you can see how well that worked.
- The webpage banner for the Pokémon fansite The PokéCommunity commonly displays a sentence (or a slight variation of it) above the forums, which states "We Are STILL Working On A Better Slogan." The website's FAQ states that this is the official slogan.
- The launch ad campaign for the 2012 Toyota Yaris: "It's a car!" (To be fair, that's pretty much the vehicle's best selling point.)
- A local Atlanta furniture dealer, Sofa King, has billboards touting "Our prices are Sofa King low." (Think about that a second.) The campaign got banned in one country, and an SNL parody.
- Atlanta sports talk radio station WCNN (680 "The Fan") had a series of spots for morning host Christopher Rude's show "The Rude Awakening" which touted him as "the least interesting man in Atlanta radio" (apeing Dos Equis beer's The Most Interesting Man in the World). Among the attributes: "He doesn't look for Waldo...Waldo looks for him," "When he takes his shirt off, kittens die" and "His vomit is used as soup in fine French restaurants."
- Carlton & United Beverages ran an advertising campaign for Carlton Draught lager, with the slogan "Made From Beer". The ad campaign parodied old-fashioned Australian beer advertising of the '70's and '80's, using cliche images such as draught horses working in golden fields and phrases such as "Pulled By Horses".
- Also from the '70's in Australia, the prosaic slogan from a famous ad for a non-alcoholic beverage called Clayton's - "The drink you have when you're not having a drink". This became so popular (the ad and slogan, not the drink) that "Clayton's" became a standard colloquialism for "ersatz", "fake", or "inauthentic".
- The New Orleans-area River Parish Disposal (a garbage collection service) has had the same slogan for years. "River Parish Disposal: Our business stinks, but it's picking up!"
- In Kansas City there's a local gardening business called The Grass Pad. Their slogan is "The Grass Pad is high on grass."
- Some septic system and pet waste-removal companies claim to be "#1 In The #2 Business."
- Years ago the Greek tourism bureau ran the following campaign: "Why go to France? People there are rude and arrogant. Come to Greece—we're nicer!"
- A Pittsburgh-area restaurant chain used this ambiguous slogan: "Winky's makes you happy to be hungry!"
- Spokane Pump Incoroprated, a company in Spokane, Washington that specializes in repairing industrial pumps, has the knowingly outrageous slogan, "We fix things that suck!"