This is a new thing we’ve made called the Slogan Cube, a tool for generating corporate taglines.
The backstory involves two old blog posts, a bot and Noel Gallagher.
About four years ago, I blogged about the trend for abstract nominalisation – the tendency of brand taglines to turn verbs and adjectives into abstract nouns. Things like ‘Better never stops’, ‘Impossible is nothing’ and ‘Find your happy’. They all disrupt normal language in an attempt to be different, but counter-productively do it in exactly the same way.
Weirdly, brands paid no attention to my post and kept on doing it. Nouns, verbs and adjectives have continued to swap places, with results like ‘Travel yourself interesting’, ‘The Do Inside’, ‘Inspire the next’, ‘Go fun yourself’, ‘Spread the happy’ and ‘I am train’. Just recently on Twitter there was ‘Career yourself passionate’.
Things came to a frothy head earlier this year with the new Stella Artois line – ‘Be Legacy’. This prompted me to write The brand line surgery, where I cut up ten brand lines and rearranged the words in a way that made more sense.
Soon after that, Russell Davies created a tagline-generating bot called @taglin3r, which uses an algorithm to tweet a new tagline every hour.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a quote by Noel Gallagher talking (for some reason) about the novels his wife reads, and how they all have similar titles.
But… what f***ing winds me up about books...is, like… my missus will come in with a book and it will be titled – and there’s a lot of these, you can substitute any word, it’s like a Rubik’s Cube of shit titles – it’ll be entitled The Incontinence Of Elephants. And I’ll say “What’s that book about?” And she’ll say, “Oh it’s about a girl and this load of f***ing nutters…” Right… so it’s not about elephants, then? Why the f*** is it called The Incontinence Of Elephants? Another one: The Tales Of The Clumsy Beekeeper. What’s that about? “Oh it’s about the French Revolution.” Right, f*** off. If you’re writing a book about a child who’s locked in a f***ing cupboard during the f***ing Second World War… he’s never seen an elephant. Never mind a f***ing giraffe.
Someone should make a Rubik's Cube of Shit Titles, but it struck me that a Rubik’s Cube was a particularly good device for corporate taglines, as so many of them have three words. It also makes for a satisfyingly old-school physical tool.
So that’s how the Slogan Cube came about. Rather than remixing existing lines, I came up with 52 words that would make for interesting combinations. It’s a tricky balance between picking words that will make some kind of sense, while also mimicking the weird syntax of brand lines. I also left two squares blank to create some two-word options.
So how many taglines can this cube potentially generate?
Well, do you know the number of configurations of a single Rubik’s Cube?
And do you know what you have to divide that by to get the number of possible two and three-word taglines?
Let me know if you do, because I have no idea.
Either way, it’s what Noel Gallagher would call a f*** of a lot of taglines.
I’ll be tweaking the word selection to improve the results. But here are some early favourites. I’ve suggested some suitable brands in brackets.
Imagine Becomes Wow (Microsoft)
We Meets Real (Kickstarter)
Next We Love (a Design Museum exhibition)
Purpose Delivers (Accenture)
Believe. Explore. Imagine. (Museum of Childhood)
Beyond Needs (gov.uk)
In. Through. Better. (Trainline.com)
Tomorrow Needs Think (IBM)
Beyond Real (Google Daydream)
Love Into Legacy (National Trust)