Slogan Train Wrecks: Taste My Nuts

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taste nyts

Just one look and my jaw dropped…

I was at an art fair out in Bucks County, PA last weekend when it happened. Strolling through the food area, I took a quick glance to my right to see a booth with a sign, front and center, that read…

“Taste My Nuts.”

Funny? Maybe, depending on your sense of humor. Appealing? You can probably judge that by the number of people lined up in the above picture to buy nuts. I still don’t even know whether this was the name of the guy’s business or his slogan, but, either way…

“Taste my nuts” is a slogan train wreck.

It’s just wrong on so many levels. But let’s focus in on two big fat branding rule violations that led to it’s demise in a effort to stop others from heading similarly off the tracks and into slogan deathswamp.

Rule #1: Don’t use humor, unless you are astonishingly good at it and you know it will have mass appeal with your market.

I crack jokes all the time, I use humor every day in business, teaching, presenting and writing. But, I am also acutely aware of the risks of using it in a setting where you have one shot to sell the greatest number of people on an idea, product or service.

While humor done right can be highly effective in an up close and personal or small group setting, it’s always a big risk in a mass messaging arena. So, while you may think something is cute and funny, a really big chunk of your most likely customers won’t.  Best bet, unless you are a comedic marketing rock star, steer clear of trying to be funny when creating a slogan or tagline (btw, man have I learned this the hard way).

Rule #2: Your slogan should make people want to buy what you are selling, not be repulsed by it…or you.

Think about the endgame of creating a slogan. Brand awareness? Sure, that’s a piece. Defining what you do? Yup. Differentiating your offering? Most definitely. But, that’s still not the true end game.

Branding, defining and differentiating are worth bubkis if they don’t eventually make people want to buy more of what you are selling. That’s what it’s all about. So, beyond the above factors, you need to ask this question…

Is your slogan or tag line eventually helping you sell more stuff?

If not, something ain’t right in Sloganville!

How does this apply to our friendly Taste My Nuts buddies?

When they decided to make their sign read “Taste my nuts,” sure people immediately knew they were selling nuts (maybe not), BUT, the mental image immediately created for so many people was not exactly something that made them say…

“Man am I hungry, let me have a bag of those.”

In fact, I’d wager to bet that a really big percentage of the people who read the sign were somewhere between highly-offended, repulsed and mildly-nauseated. Okay, I confess to being one of the few who actually thought it was funny.

But, it also did nothing to make me want to buy the product.

Funny or cute don’t work when the net result not only fails to make your product more appealing, but literally stops people form wanting what you are trying to sell. Kapish?

So, what do you guys think? About the slogan and the critique?

Let’s discuss…

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28 responses

28 responses to “Slogan Train Wrecks: Taste My Nuts”

  1. […] Go to the author’s original blog: Slogan Train Wrecks: Taste My Nuts […]

  2. Yoav says:

    I agree 100%

    Lets hope that the guy understands that it’s his sign that’s the problem and not the recession.

    But while we are on the subject of critiquing slogans…

    The “Let’s discuss…” you use after the article-end questions makes me reluctant to comment. I feel that …

    a) I have to sit through the entire discussion (which is a bit of an obligation)

    b) It’s directed at a group of people that doesn’t include me and while that’s ok. I don’t think that was your purpose.

    Sorry for being trollish so early in the morning 🙂

  3. He probably thought he was being clever, but while the tagline is memorable there’s no way it makes me want to buy his nuts. Then again, if he was cute… No, no, no, I’m married.

    See, I’m not thinking about peanuts, cashews or walnuts here. Lousy product/marketing compatibility.

    Kelly

  4. “Taste My Nuts”?! I LOVE IT! Ah, college frat-boy humor, how I love thee. I definitely can appreciate, however, how their slogan might limit their marget demographic. Or at least have the wives of the demographic rolling their eyes!

  5. Humor can be used effectively though. I used to live near a dry cleaners that had a sign in the window that said –

    Drop your pants …

    Off to us.

    I thought it was really funny.

  6. Corky says:

    Great example. Here’s another I saw at a hot rod show a few weeks ago. The cops probably had an eye on this booth. http://s205.photobucket.com/albums/bb157/acecool123/?action=view&current=Badslogan.jpg

  7. I think humorous slogans work better in the younger generation, but will definitely turn off the baby boomers. This is because they want to know your business is professional, and people will have second thoughts when they see a sign like that.

  8. Exhaustive expert discussion of similar issue around taglines over here: http://www.copyblogger.com/tagline-clinic
    This guy needs to read it.

  9. John Carson says:

    Hey Jonathan, totally get what you’re trying to say in the post. But, some people do have to sell nuts, or melons, or plums.

    Granted, it was pretty obvious that the seller was going for the humour angle.

  10. zania says:

    I found the slogan funny, but I take your point about it being bad marketing. There’s no way I would have wanted to actually taste those nuts…

    But humour can work in some settings. We had a tool hire centre in the town where I used to live, called ‘beaver tools’ (with a very large graphic of a beaver outside just to let everyone know that the name referred to an animal…)

    Their slogan was ‘you can’t lick a beaver’. Everyone went to them first for tool hires, because they remembered them.

  11. Kelly says:

    Hmmm…I think there are a few naive people left in this world, like my mom, that innocently could have chosen that name. Sad, cuz I guess that means the rest of us have our minds in the gutter! 🙂

  12. Jonathan,

    ROFLOL!

    For a minute, I thought it was really funny and could possibly be brilliant.

    Then I read it was in Bucks County, and I knew that it was really funny only to him, and definitely not brilliant. He did not know his market at all; that’s a family and weekenders crowd, not a teenagers or beer-drinking crowd.

    I think all your points are great, and I was slowly recovering from my hysteria, when I read:

    “Man am I hungry, let me have a bag of those.”

    Now I have tears streaming down my face. Funny, yet indescribably gross.

    Oh, and my 2¢… I like “Let’s discuss.” Sure, sometimes I hear the Church Lady when you say it (she was plain old “Discuss,” I think), but mostly, it’s yours.

    My sides hurt. I’ll be bursting out laughing at random moments for the rest of the night. Ouch!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  13. Jonathan Fields says:

    So, no doubt, a bunch of us thought the slogan/tagline was some combination of funny or cute. I absolutely concede that.

    But the question was whether that converted to motivating someone to walk over and plunk down money to buy their nuts, especially after the mental image created by the double entendre.

    In the end, it’s not about entertainment, it’s about whether that entertainment converts people to buyers.

    Remember, too, this was a booth at a paid country art festival, where the average attendee was a family person in their late 40s/early 50s. For that demo, it was just a bad call.

  14. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Kelly – the Church Lady, eh? Hmmm, gonna have to play with some “let’s discuss” variations…

  15. Laurie says:

    My sister and I are starting a little craft business to give us a creative outlet and maybe a little money. I just printed us up some business cards. Our name is “Sister Sinsations” and our slogan is “Using our mid-life crisis in a creative way!” I thought it was both funny and true!

  16. Laurie says:

    OK I spelled Sensations right on the cards! he he he. The way I spelled it there, brings a different meaning all together! OMG!

  17. Jonathan,

    Ah!

    You know how, you say Church Lady (Dana Carvey), and you’re really thinking of (Mike Myers) Coffee Talk With Linda Richman?

    No probably not. Pre-pre-senior moment.

    But the comment might make more sense now. Discuss.

    🙂

    Would I buy my nuts there? No, thanks. The eew factor is just too high.

    Until later,

    Kelly

  18. Bob Collier says:

    Here in Australia, there’s a company selling various kinds of nuts with the brand name Nobby’s and their slogan for many years has been “Nibble Nobby’s Nuts”. It must be working for them if they’ve kept it and I can’t argue that it isn’t memorable, but whenever I hear it my immediate thought is always “No thanks!” 🙂

  19. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Laurie – hehehe, too funny…Freudian slip?! 😉

    @ Kelly – got it, and, hey, I am plenty old enough to remember Dana Carvey.

    @ Bob – interesting, I sometimes wonder, too, about cultural differences in the way a slogan or tagline lands.

  20. Rob says:

    I love it. I’d love it even more if they were selling jelly beans. j/k! I’m sure their sign made a lot of people laugh and was a lot more memorable than “Joe’s Nut Shack” or “Tom’s Salty Nuts”. Well, Tom’s Salty Nuts may get some attention as well…

    I respect people/companies who dare to stand out and be different knowing that not everyone is going to appreciate their humor.

  21. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Rob – Absolutely agree with being different, but be different for the purpose of driving business, not driving people away from your business. Getting attention is, in the end, worthless for a business if it doesn’t convert to increased sales, even if there are a few steps in between.

  22. Anthony Kuhn says:

    Yummy! Nuts! Depends on your intended audience, for sure, but I would guess a family-centered event like a fair isn’t the place to use edgy double-entendres to sell your salty wares. Nice find!

  23. […] Fields is generally fabulous.  I love his blog, Awake at the Wheel.  I really love this posting, and the associated image: Taste My Nuts Digg, Share, Stumble… These icons link to social […]

  24. […] Slogan Train Wrecks – Taste My Nuts – Jonathan Fields encounters a nut stand with a funny slogan but one that is not really going to help sell nuts. An example of bad branding. […]

  25. […] Fields has taken us on a slogan train wreck, showing us how a bad choice of words, although funny to some, may end up driving most customers […]

  26. Paul Hines says:

    This reminds me of a T.V. ad I saw several years ago and I believe Planters learned their lesson because I haven’t seen it since.

    The commercial begins with an old lady telling the Planters character that she loves his nuts and he looks at her, smiles and twirls his cane.

  27. […] is an older post from last year on Slogan Train Wrecks – very funny, insightful and overall a good read.  Jonathan has a lot of variety in his posts […]

  28. kevin says:

    In the Perfect Chopper food processor commercial (presented by the sham wow guy) he says “you’re going to love my nuts” as he finishes making a topping for a sundae.

    Also, do you remember the Quizno’s commercial with the guy, holding a footlong in his hands, talking to the oven… and the oven says ” go ahead Scott, put in in me” –classic-

    Sometimes being on the edge helps, sometimes it hurts.

    Take a look at these guys. From what I read they have a lot of name recognition… in a good way.

    Big Ass Fans