How A 25 Year Old Catchphrase Can Kill A Branding Effort

Earlier today, I witnessed something that made me cringe. It was a complete waste of a marketing opportunity.

A seemingly entrepreneurial dentist bought advertising space in a community newspaper and positioned her practice as “Not Your Father’s Dentist’s Office.” For me, reading that was the professional equivalent of getting poked and scraped at the dentist.

Someone spent money to create and ad and buy space only to use a hackneyed phrase that starts out with a negative word? Unfortunately, we see it (and worse) all the time. How can this happen? The best guess is that in an effort to cut costs, this would-be marketer cut corners. She did not involve an experienced professional to cut to the core of her desired brand and points of difference and create compelling copy.

Instead, she, herself, probably picked the line, made into an overused catchphrase. Just see the thousands of ads and articles found with a simple Google search. It made famous in 1988 by Oldsmobile, a dying brand that was finally euthanized in 2004, in TV spots like this one. Click that link – does that look like something you should emulate today?

The moral of the story- to cut the cliches and really communicate when you’re spending money and time on a branding effort, spend just a little bit more. Hire a professional and give yourself a chance at doing it well. Marketing communication should not be a DIY activity.