Thursday, December 17, 2020

Bad slogans: How to create a slogan and not shoot yourself in the foot.

 #BlackLivesMatter #DefundThePolice #GlobalWarming #ClimateChange #MeToo#BeBest?


#GenerationTouch  @yipiyipiyeah

How to create a good slogan?


When making slogans, people need to be very careful because language is important and the message can be easily twisted. 

Rule #1: Do NOT make the slogan too specific. 

A good example is #GlobalWarming which only spoke to one part of the global environmental problem. As time went on, proponents saw that the slogan was too narrow and it did not get across a complicated issue with many causes and a varied outcome. Global warming was replaced with #ClimateChange which is a much better slogan, but people who do not understand the issue are still stuck on the "warming" part and use snowstorms as faulty reasoning to ignore the science. An entire generation was lost because of a wrongly formulated slogan.

Rule #2: Do not make it divisive. 

The #BLM slogan is both too specific and divisive. The idea is obviously "Black lives matter Too"... but this was lost in translation. The movement would have been very different if they had started with the slogan #AllLivesMatter. However, now it is too late because this slogan has been taken by the other side which has misunderstood the meaning. The #BLM movement could formally come out to claim the #AllLivesMatter slogan and retire the old one; however, like global warming, the damage is done for a generation.

Rule#3: Do not attack any group, come from a place of support.

#DefundThePolice is probably one of the worst slogans ever. It attacks a group, it is divisive, and it is confusing. It would be much better to have an uplifting slogan that everyone could embrace. I am just spitballing here, but how about #RebuildThePolice, #MakePolicingBetter, #PoliceReformNow, #SaferPolicing??? Any ideas? Leave them in the comments.

The current slogan makes people think that there will be no police and that most people want to live in total anarchy. The issue should be framed in a way that helps the police get better training, appropriate funding when needed, and that you do not send an armed person into situations that either is overkill -- like dealing with a mentally unstable person urinating in public -- or underprepared -- having a single cop pull over suspects and have to deal with them alone. 

I will not do a complete post on this topic, but there are other ways to deal with these problems. The police will be happy if they do not have to deal with the mentally ill homeless and be able to focus on training for dealing with violent criminals. And traffic stops should not be one officer alone. Spain is not perfect, but they do well-planned random roadblocks. Cars are funneled through a blockade with multiple police in an overwhelming force. This almost guarantees that there is no violence, dangerous car chases, etc.

Rule#4: If it is not working, change it as soon as possible!

#MeToo is an example of a slogan that followed the rules mentioned above and was extremely viral and surprisingly effective in a very short period. Spain, unfortunately, did not follow these rules and they have created the slogan #ViolenciaDeGenero (Gender Violence). The slogan has hurt more than helped the cause. It has made men (all men) the bad guys and pitted the sexes against each other. This has opened the door to right-wing parties like Vox to defend the majority of men who are honest and non-violent and a lot of women who do not like to be portrayed as weak and defenseless.

How to solve this problem? Women's rights groups should accept the fact that the campaign was misdirected and to look for a non-divisive campaign slogan like #MeToo. "Violence" should be made clear that it can be psychological as well as physical. It should be clear that this is not a gender issue (Yes, more women are killed by men than women by me, but many more men are killed by men and some men are killed by women... this is a too-zoomed-in view of the problem. More men speed, but driving safety campaigns do not pit the sexes against each other). Women's rights groups should learn from the other side and include violence against the elderly, children, bullying, etc... all under one banner/slogan.

Rule#5: Don't be too bland.

Exhibit A: #BeBest. What was that all about?

In conclusion, if you want to start a movement or a trending hashtag, be very careful before moving ahead because you may do more damage to your cause than good. 


Have a great day! And feel free to leave constructive comments that help people create effective slogans :-)

PD. Maybe slogans should first be launched with catchy images. #GenerationTouch (#TouchGeneration) is clear in this graffiti, but without the image? 

1 comment:

JANET said...

That was very interesting, good job.