Look, I know, right? They're only doing their jobs and it fell to someone in the retained agency Stella Artois employs to come up with a catchphrase. There had to be a catchphrase, a hashtaggable piece of blah that people could electronically write at one another whenever something amazing happened. Something that conveyed all the heritage, excitement, aspirational and 'fucking hell!' All encapsulated in one crapulous assortment of letters.
Just Do It.
The client had said something as good as 'just do it' - quotable, meaningful and concise and brilliant in equal measure. And the people knew they could never come up with something as good but they had come up with something so they started to brainstorm. When they could have been walking in the beautiful British countryside, enjoying a great pub lunch, reading a great book or just having sex - they were brainstorming instead.
And someone in a room about half a mile north of Euston stopped gnawing on their pencil and said '........ #belegacy'? And someone wrote it down on a whiteboard with a bit of a crinkled nose to suggest they thought it sucked balls but felt tipped it next to the other ones anyway.
And seven people looked at the hashtags and felt a well of sadness in the pit of their chests and looked out across London; for a second they faced up to what a colossal waste of time and energy it all was and teared up as they thought of fields, beaches, friendship and the baby birds in the early summer trees.
They thought of being six, 11, 18, 21. Times in their lives when anything could have happened. They could have done any job, gone anywhere, been with anyone and done anything. Before the job, spouse, car and house that now defined them. Before hashtags.
And then they thought of the deadline and the client and the bonus and the graphic designers waiting for the brief. And they knew the graphic designers longed to create quirky, minimalistic magazines about food, bikes, tech and architecture. And they knew the graphic designers would have to make these utterly insignificant gestures of marketing fart, which would then be returned by a client making just enough changes to make their job seem meaningful.
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) July 4, 2016
And they thought of the people who would hear #belegacy - and they knew the people would hate it and see through it and they knew they'd have to do it anyway. They'd have to approve #belegacy and tweet it and actually say it while looking enthusiastic, for God's sake. And they knew there'd have to be an app. And someone would have to be paid half a million dollars for Facebooking, tweeting and Instagramming #belegacy with some pictures of beer and sunsets.
And they thought of being children, and they thought of love and family and the meaning of it all and they thought of being dead.
And a little switch flicked off for a fraction of a second and then flicked back on again. And they nodded and wrote things down and agreed that Jasper would action that item and left the room.
And they looked down at the streets below and thought how the people and cars looked like ants. And they knew whatever happened from that point onwards there would always #belegacy.
Stuff like this is gold dust on marketing, advertising and PR blogs because it's good link-bait-y copy. Top tens always go down well, but if you can match something that tugs at the nostalgia strings of readers, string it out over 20-odd pages and churn out some generic keyword-heavy intros and you're away.
It's ironic that this one is about advertising taglines, as the title 'best every ad taglines?' - or words to that effect - is almost an advertising tagline in itself.
Anyway, the slogans on this article by Forbes - coincidentally one of the least user-friendly sites in existence - are inevitably US-based, but enough of them should have leaked through to our combined UK and European consciousnesses for them to make sense.
Some are universal. BMW's Ultimate Driving Machine is timeless. Or so you would have thought, as BMW recently ditched it for the appalling Joy.
Just Do It - also a good one, and a slogan coincidentally used by my Dad, in his general attitude to life. Not because of a freaky baseball-cap-wearing US geriatric, but because it worked for him.
Got milk? has alway baffled me. Surely the answer is either 'yes I have go milk' or 'no I haven't got milk'?
Mastercard's There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy tagline is supposedly well-loved. And while it's spawned a thousand spoofs, it doesn't exactly stand out. Does it do anything that other cards don't do? No, it doesn't. So who exactly 'loves' it?
Verizon's Can You Hear Me Now? suggests to me that the line is bad, forcing a redial. It also sounds like something a Tarantino protagonist would shout while pumping someone's head full of bullets.
McDonalds' You Deserve a Break Today has an old-world charm, certainly more than I'm Lovin' It. And We Bring Good Things to Life for GE is quaintly pleasing, far more so than the meaningless, aspirational Imagination At Work. Then again, these were the days before carbon emissions.
Forbes tells us that the simplicity of The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand is what makes it so good. But if describing what a product does makes a tagline clever, why isn't the Pampers slogan Keeps Baby Shit From Falling Out All Over The Place?
And Time to Make the Donuts? Surely the donuts have been made already? What?
You've Come a Long Way, Baby - Virginia Slims' tagline for marketing fags at women - is well-loved, Forbes tells us. Is it? Is it really? Who loves it exactly? The best I can say about something that plays on womens' fears of their own body image is that it smacks of a low animal cunning.
Reach Out and Touch Someone from AT&T is obviously problematic, while Be All You Can Be - for the US army - has a lot of obvious unfortunate rejoinders: 'working-class cannon fodder', perhaps?
Anyway, what I think stuff like this says about advertising is that it's indelibly linked with a hazy nostalgia for time's gone by. No-one's immune to it. It's the reason why old ads get a run out from time-to-time; the reason we form affinities with brands; the reason why articles like this exist.
Because we don't love the taglines. We love the bittwerweet melancholy of remembering.
• What are the 'best-loved' UK advertising slogans? Some that seem typically British include Ah, Bisto!; Go To Work On An Egg; Beanz Meanz Heinz; Have A Break. Have A Kit-Kat; For Mash Get Smash; Hello Tosh, Gotta Toshiba...