This is what we do.
by Jon on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 file under: Commentary

I was driving home from work the other day and was stuck behind a plumbing van. It seemed to be a local service, they had all the normal things you'd expect to see on a for-hire van, company name (which escapes me), logo (which also escapes me), phone number (as you guessed, escapes me), and their company tagline (which has been burned into my brain): "We put a new bathtub over your old one."

I laughed to myself and thought, how could a company possibly get a marketing slogan like "We put a new bathtub over your old one"? Any company with any sense of how to massage it's potential customers would woo it with a vague but intriguing phrase like, "Give your bathroom a face lift" or "Bathroom renovation done right" or "New Bathtub, No hassle" or any other multitude of phrases that gets the customer interested in how this company can serve them. "We put a new bathtub over your old one," however, doesn't attempt to lead potential customers on, or make grand statements about how much better your life will be with their service, it simply says what they do, and nothing more.

So why is this potentially bad? My first thought was that I wouldn't want a new bathtub simply installed over my bathtub, I'd want my old bathtub removed and a new one put in its place. There slogan has alienated me from their company, I know I don't want their service before ever learning more about the company. Secondly, it limits what they service they are seen as providing. I can't imagine a company in a small city like Madison, WI can get away with only putting new bathtubs over old ones, so I assume they also do other plumbing maintenance and installation, but I'd never know that because I didn't talk to the company after my first thought. And finally, it's not pleasing to the ears. I want to know how their company is going to turn every bathroom experience into a halcyon dream. Simply stating what they do without qualifying it with the quality of their craftsmanship does very little to encourage me to select them.

So what am I trying to get at? After a week, I have no clue what the company's name, logo, or phone number were, but their simplistic, ridiculous tagline has stuck with me. With how much I hate it, "We put a new bathtub over your old one" will stick with me for several more days, if not weeks or months. This moronic slogan, probably chosen by the plumbers working at the company to save a few bucks by not hiring a marketing consultant, has done everything a catch phrase should do. When I get home, I'll probably google it, to see what other services this company can provide me.

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