WHEN advertisers and marketing brianiacs and PR people and turtle neck designers brainstorm on how to sell something, I’m sure it must just be a matter of time before some-Apprentice-dropout-body kicks back on the heels of their seat and says to the team: “I’ve got, let’s keep it simple and just use the word ‘love’”.
This is the ‘Love idea’ crossroads where everybody else around the table is either too tired to intervene or so devoid of imagination themselves that they drop their marker pens and agree to go with it. Or, they take the other fork in the road, stand up and say: ‘That is the oldest, most clichéd, awful idea you could have come up with. I’d rather go with Pants man’.
The ‘Love idea’ is simple if nothing else. All you have to do is get someone to say: Love blah-de-blah. Then they follow that by saying: Love blah-de-bleugh. And that’s it. That’s the ‘Love idea’.
So if you are trying to sell meat and chips from a kebab shop, you’re ‘Love idea’ slogan is: Love doner, Love kebabs.
If you are selling records, the formula is the same: Love wee Scottish singers, Love Lulu.
If you are trying to get people to watch Saturday night television: Love faded ageist dancing shows which people Sky+ while they watch the X-Factor, Love Strictly Come Dancing.
It’s easy. And when you are confident with how it works, you will see how champions of the ‘Love idea’ can really gild the lily with some freestyle variations. Like the Costa Coffee coffee chain, for instance. Their new branding reads – wait for it – Love Christmas, Love Costa. Inspired. Who doesn’t love Christmas? Rush me an Egg Nog Latte at once.
The second recent example of the ‘Love idea’ was spotted when I headed to Leeds recently and the first thing I saw when I stepped off the train was the tourist information centre. On the front door was the snappy slogan – here it comes peeps, you’ve probably guessed – Live Leeds, Love Leeds. Yes, yes, we love Leeds. Use the that ‘l’ word as much as you can.
And now, it’s our old favourites – Camden Council. Look out the window, tap Camden into Google, check the bus stops, get on Twitter: the council is going hell for leather with the ‘Love idea’. Love this, Love Camden. Love that, Love Camden. Love Your High Street, Love Camden.
Every effort to help small businesses during the recession is welcome and perhaps the council remains envious of the success of the I Love Hackney campaign that enlivened east London a couple of years ago. But, in Camden,this is a slightly odd use of the tried – much tried – and trusted ‘Love idea’, appearing here as a marketing campaign ordering residents to love the area where they live. Odd because they probably do already, that’s why they live there – so surely don’t need their council tax spent on banners and websites imploring them to Love, Love and Love Camden.
And if they don’t love where they live, why not let them be? Why rub it in?Who wants to be told to Love Camden if they are living in an overcrowded council flat with no chance of a transfer? Or have just been hit with a fistful of parking tickets? Or can’t find a working swimming pool?
Call me a cynic but whatever you think about the principles behind the campaign, whatever you think of the amount of public money or council manpower used to create the branding – maybe, just maybe the council could have come with something a little more imaginative than the ‘Love idea’. That way, it wouldn’t be flogging the same nearly dead horse as Costa Coffee, the Leeds tourist board and all the others marketing whizzbrains who went for the first idea they thought of when they reached the ‘Love idea’ crossroads.