28 Sep

Pointless straplines

I was blundering from one tube line to another, on my way home last night, when I suddenly became consciously aware of the TFL strapline ‘Every Journey Matters’… and how pointless it is.

I was trying to work out if its longer form would be ‘Every Journey Matters To Us’ (‘Us’ being TFL) or ‘We’re Aware That Every Journey Matters To You – You Wouldn’t Just Be Getting On a Train For Fun’.

Either way, what’s the point in that strapline? TFL aren’t really selling anything, they’re operating a public service – we can’t go anywhere else if we want to use public transport in London e.g if the Northern line is an essential part of our journey to work. We can’t ‘vote with our feet’ and choose another transport provider.
If TFL mess up our journey, there’s no real apology or any consequences for them: we just have to deal with any delays or cock-ups.

The strapline might as well say: ‘Every Journey Matters… but if there’s a signal failure, engineering works overrun, or a train is faulty, there’s nowt we can do. If you’re late, you’re late. Tough.’

The line appears to be nothing more than a bit of good PR – some self-congratulatory back patting.

It’s the same with the line for the Metropolitan Police: ‘Total Policing’.
What in the name of Kojak does that mean?? What else would I expect the police to be doing other than ‘policing’? Why would I expect their commitment to that to be anything other than ‘total’?
The strapline might as well say; ‘Metropolitan Police – We Arrest Criminals’.

It’s also the same with county slogans (in fairness, I wrote about this ages ago, on a different blog). Counties don’t really advertise anything, they just are – they just exist.
Hertfordshire’s slogan is: ‘County of Opportunity’.
Again – what? Is this an invitation for burglars? Is it aimed at jobhunters? It’s tantamount to saying; ‘something might happen here at some point, but we’re not really sure when’.

The incredible thing about these pointless straplines is that some marketing agency / strategy guru was probably paid tens of thousands of pounds to come up with those lines.
‘Every Journey Matters’… ‘Total Policing’… ‘County of Opportunity’…. those agencies must’ve laughed all the way to the bank.

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