Why do advertisers feel the need for a profound sounding end line?  Do they think it elevates their product?

Often when it comes out of nowhere; and, with no set up, it just doesn’t work.

For example, American Express is running a commercial touting the benefits of their cards and ends with “Realize the Potential” – a very profound sounding call to some kind of cerebral action.  But there was no previous reference in the commercial setting up the line.  That left the line as almost neologistic — ending with the viewer thinking “Huh?” — if they are thinking at all.

Clearly the line is an important strategic idea for AMEX, an idea that is also in other materials they are producing, or they would not have trademarked (TM) it.  But for the line to be more than an internal code within AMEX, they need to clearly seed the words and idea somehow within the body of the commercial.

It is such a lofty, abstract idea that it definitely needs help in being communicated.  It is not an easy idea to understand, like say Just Do It, that can make sense from the content of the commercial.

I recently saw a another commercial, this time for a mundane, everyday functional product.  It was an eminently forgettable spot featuring a woman who rattled off the specific product benefits and features quite adequately and mechanically.  There was even a demo — I love product demos!

It also ended with a seemingly profound tag line that came in out of nowhere. I guess it too had significant double meaning and yet it fell to the floor like an old china plate, rattled around and didn’t break.

It was just… well a copy line that someone liked and wanted to get into the commercial – an orphan that needed a home.

What has happened here?

The tagline in any commercial should sum up the creative strategy and integrate it with the action that has taken place in the commercial.

The tagline should be an easy to remember summation that allows the message to stick with the target audience.  The AMEX line might have some strategy summation quality to it, but it is abstruse (a word that is what it means).  The idea it is promoting is both profound and subtle.  For the idea to be understood as a component of the commercials it needs a lot of help.

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