Tagline Copywriting Lessons from 3 Top E-Cigarette Companies

E-cigarette companies may have their tech down but their tagline copywriting needs work
E-cigarette companies may have their tech down but their tagline copywriting needs work
  You got me. I’m not wild about this e-cigarette trend, and so they’re an easy target. Not only are most electronic cigarettes still physiologically harmful, they create unnecessary dependencies. But I’m not simply using the trend to draw people to this blog. These taglines vary from vanilla lame to hilarious. If their copywriters had worked a little harder (or if they paid their copywriters more!), they wouldn’t have found themselves in my crosshairs. Not since this Sochi Olympics’ terrible tagline, “Hot. Cool. Yours.” have I seen such terrible tagline writing.

How this Copywriting Tagline Post All Started . . .

The other day as I was listening to the morning news while getting ready for the day, an indignant, e-cigarrette commercial spokesperson cried, Take back your freedom! “Take back my freedom?” I wondered. More like, become dependent on an activity I have no use for now: smoking on first waking up, after a meal, after sex, in the car, in stressful situations, in happy situations. You name it, 25 years ago, I could smoke to it. Luckily, I quit quickly (a college thing), but eight years later, I ended up with a squamous cell carcinoma on my lip right where I always put that cigarette.The oral surgeon cut it out, and I’ve had no recurrences in 20 years. Beyond own personal condemnation of e-cigarettes, their tagline skirts e-cigarettes’ harmful effects to the point of obviousness. More, they fail to pass my three tests of decent tagline creation.

  1. Is it memorable/catchy?
  2. Is there benefit to the reader/potential consumer?
  3. Does it invoke an emotional reaction?


3 Bad Taglines and the Sins They Commit

Blu eCigarette: “Take Back Your Freedom” “I’m going to do this and you can’t stop me!” or “You’re not the boss of me!” were probably on the copywriting shortlist, too., A petulant child’s statement, this tagline contains no emotional resonance. More, people who never smoked (surely a target market for Blu e-cigs) won’t respond to this; they have nothing to “take back.” Curious to see a tagline WITH emotional resonance? Try: “The USO: Until The Last One Comes Home.” You got goosebumps; didn’t you? I not only got goosebumps when I first read that, I had to stop and focus on it to take in a huge statement it was making. (If you don’t know, the USO supports war veterans.) I also like my own tagline for emotional resonance: “Your Brand Messages… Everywhere.” it’s the “everywhere” that creates excitement and hope. The “your” focuses on potential clients’ needs. I also like the one I created for a pet sitting business recently: “Come Home to Happiness!” Believe me, I was at the drawing board a while for that one. I’ve learned to reject my first five (at least), and I only create the tagline when I know the audience’s specific needs and pain points.   Vuse: “Welcome to Tomorrow” This one fails all three tests. Use of the “Tomorrow, Today” theme is so widespread it has lost both meaning and originality. What’s the reader benefit? Cutting edge technology is just too removed from the vague “Welcome to Tomorrow.” Am I going to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland? Getting an iPad controlled house? This tagline may have a touch of cool-factor emotional resonance with its promise of futuristic technology, but again it’s too vague to raise a single goose bump on my arm at least.   Altria: “Take a Closer Look.” At what? And taking “a closer look” makes me work. As a consumer, I don’t want to work. I want to get, get, get! In other words this e-cigarette company promises absolutely no benefit whatsoever. I understand, because of their wide range of products, they have to be vague, but nothing about this tagline is catchy or memorable.  

I Won’t Create Better Taglines For These Companies

You may be saying, “if you’re so good at tagline copywriting, write something better for these four companies!” No way. I would prefer to snuff out companies like these. But if you have a company in need of a tagline that provides client benefit, has emotional resonance and is catchy, I dig writing taglines. Feel free to call me at 858-248-0667 or contact me here.    

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