Tips for Taglines
Driving down I-88 the other day, I spotted a service van with this tagline across the back doors –
Industrial Spray Painting You Can “Trust”
Not good. The author doesn’t realize that putting a word or phrase in quotation marks this way indicates sarcasm. For emphasis – which is what I assume the author was shooting for – use italics. I’ll chart it out:
- Industrial Spray Painting You Can Trust means industrial spray painting you can trust.
- Industrial Spray Painting You Can Trust means industrial spray painting you can really trust.
- Industrial Spray Painting You Can “Trust” means industrial spray painting you can’t trust.
What would happen if big brands fell victim to tagline-killing quotation marks?
- Tastes “great,” less filling. Result: Miller Lite goes the way of the Edsel.
- You’re in “good hands” with Allstate. Result: Policyholders run for their lives.
- Fly the “friendly” skies. Result: United wins a truth in advertising award.
Of course, the state of public education being what it is, there’s a good chance that 90% of U.S. consumers wouldn’t notice bungled punctuation in a tagline.
Does Punctuation Matter?
What do you think: does punctuation matter in a world of emoticons, text message shorthand, and acronyms?