American potato chips brand Pringles has decided to retire its iconic slogan “Once You Pop, You Can't Stop" first introduced in 1996. The new slogan "Mind Popping" was in the works for approximately two years and the aims to convey that the snack will blow consumers’ minds with packaging and experience of eating them.
According to Grey Group’s creative directors Christopher Lapham and Aaron McGurk, the idea came from researching stories around the brand which then “blew [their] minds”. To further acquaint consumers with its new brand positioning, the potato chip brand released a mind popping spot about the theory of evolution, and ads will run across numerous platforms.
It is safe to say Pringles has had one of the most iconic and easily identifiable brand slogans of our times. And while the old saying remains “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”, in this era of disruption, the only possible way to remain relevant is to, well, break it.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Graham Hitchmough, regional chief operations officer, The Bonsey Design said that just because a tagline lodges itself in the public consciousness for a period of time, doesn't give it the divine right to remain forever. Chances are that new generations emerge with little or no affinity or territoriality towards a handful of words. Taglines can also fall foul of changing trends, priorities and meanings and need to contemporise.
“Pringles' decision, for instance, is presumably due in part to the suggestion of binging that is at odds with today's mindful eating concepts,” said Hitchmough.
Does the new slogan work?
The short answer is, yes. But there are pros and cons.
For Rudi Leung, director of Hungry Digital, while both slogans work well, he says the evolution between the two slogans is hard to spot at first glance besides using the word "pop".
“The older slogan sounds like a tongue and twister but depicts the irresistibility of the product perfectly. The latter one is not as catchy, and it needs so much explanation through the commercial. However, the quirkiness of the ad seems better suit the new generation's consumers,” said Leung.
Andrew Crombie, managing director of Crombie Design, added that a great slogan should be simple, and relevant to the audience, evocative of the brand, and ideally rhythmic and catchy – which both the slogans are. The now-retired Pringles slogan “Once you pop, you can’t stop” had all of these and is especially aided by the rhyme, the repeated three-word rhythm and the onomatopoeic word “pop” which reflects the sound of the container opening, which is strongly associated with opening the Pringles tube. Meanwhile, the new slogan borrows heavily from the use of the "sound" of the old slogan, whilst taking us to a new idea for the brand.
“This is a clever shift and is well executed in my view. Although different ideas, they both share the same sound in pop that is already ‘owned’ by Pringles, and both promise an experience that is out of the norm,” said Crombie adding:
'Mind Popping' is a crisp, evocative and fun summation of the new idea – a great start for a slogan.
He added most brand slogans are forgotten almost immediately, and many never register at all. Often those that do are incorrectly associated with the wrong brand. That leaves only about 1% that actually add any value. “While Pringles old slogan ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop’ is nudging towards the 1%, aided by years of consistent support and a big budget, ‘Mind Popping’ is not a bad effort either. Time will tell whether it is as effective,” he said.
When to dive in for the big change
At the end of the day, a good slogan should evoke the spirit or idea of the brand in a way that triggers the users' memory and interest. Like all aspects of the brand and the branding, it should be updated to reflect adjustments to the positioning of brands that are needed from time to time to keep them from feeling dated, irrelevant or stale.
For some brands, the slogan can stand the test of time because the brand stands for an idea that is still relevant, said Crombie. Patek Philippe, for example, is a great example with its line “You never actually own a Patek Phillippe. You merely look after it for the next generation” - reflecting the idea of timeless heirlooms with sublime quality and worth.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ slogan “A great way to fly” has stood the test of time first being introduced in 1972 by Batey Ads and is still as relevant today as it was then.
In the case of Pringles, said Crombie, the brand has adapted its brand to take into account the shifts in their current core consumers’ priorities towards healthier lifestyles. The brand idea now seems to be more experiential and fun and shows how people too have evolved to eat Pringles with its amazing facts that support this shift, he explained.
Dominic Mason, managing director of Sedgwick Richardson, added that at the end of the day it is relevance, not longevity that matters. If a tagline is well established, but no longer meaningful, it won’t go the distance it needs to with customers.
Slogans need to align with the spirit of the times, and the cultural zeitgeist.
Agreeing with Mason, Stephen Chung, director of Secret Tour Hong Kong, said a great indication is when you feel that the current slogan just doesn’t fit what the brand wants to tell the public anymore.
Considerations for a new logo
Any creation of a slogan has to be succinct, catchy, and an evocative trigger of the brand’s idea, experience and the positioning it wants to evoke, explained Crombie.
“If there is a need to change the brand positioning, then the slogan will become ineffective for the new brand positioning and a new slogan should be defined. If the old slogan still fits the desired new positioning, it was rubbish to begin with and should be changed,” he added.
Hitchmough added that one easy tip would be to not try too hard. If an agency attempts desperately to force a tagline into popular culture or tailgate the latest trends or vernacular, it's most likely to never establish roots, or to become quickly out-of-date. He said:
The best taglines are developed from inside-out rather than outside-in. They are guided by powerful consumer insights and not simply a regurgitation of the latest fads.
“A well-established slogan is part of an organisation's brand equity, and it has to build over the years. It has to handle with care. A brand shouldn't easily change it for the sake of a so-called brand rejuvenation,” concluded Leung.
Pringles pops open new brand slogan after decades