Let’s Explore Tag Lines With Owls

Unsplash Short-eared Owl Mathew Schwartz

If you’ve yet to experience humorist, David Sedaris’ writing, his “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” is a riotous hoot. I haven’t given up thinking I might live long enough to write something as revealing and funny, but in the meantime, here’s a bird’s-eye view of a gaggle of Graphic Language tag lines: a 1998-2018 compendium of Graphic Language winners and losers that took essay-length client briefs and scorched them into matchbox-length messages.

Back cover of Canterbury Woodworks 2010 Home Show 2-fold-brochure

Tag line: Your room is waiting.
Client: Canterbury Woodworks

The “Your room is waiting” kitchen photo above was the cover of a Canterbury Woodworks Trade Show brochure. (View the PDF). Inside it is one of my favourite examples of About Page copy, Canterbury’s Two Cups of Tea. We used “Your room is waiting.” in the same way a concierge would welcome guests to a bespoke hotel.

CoffeeWorks Bermuda tag line, "perk up. you're Bermudaful!"

Tag line: Perk up. You’re Bermudaful!
Client: CoffeeWorks Bermuda

What a Bermudaful day! You’re Bermudaful! and Oh man I’m full! (if you’ve had one too many Gosling’s Black Seal rum and Cokes) aren’t uncommon proclamations on “The Rock” but this was the first time that Bermudians were invited to perk up because of their condition.

Tag line: Drink Responsibly.
Client: ClearWater Systems

I didn’t create the slogan, “Drink Responsibly.” however I did repurpose it for ClearWater Systems in Bermuda (and later, its parent company, The Liquid Group) in ad copy and website content that recommended the installation and responsible maintenance of residential and commercial drinking water treatment systems, as well as regularly scheduled tank cleaning and maintenance, over the purchase of bottled water. There were no recycling facilities of any kind in Bermuda at that time.

Ad headline: 15% 15-yard line special
Client: Darrell’s Restaurants

Darrell’s restaurant is smack dab in the middle of an East Coast Canadian University Football enclave. The brief was to create a 15% special for Saint Mary’s Huskies football fan cardholders, so that’s what I did, marking the 15-yard line (which made perfect sense to me — the furthest thing from a football-of-any-shape fan). The client hated the idea because there is no 15-yard line in Canadian or American football (which, I argued, was precisely the point) and threatened to revoke my free-peanut-burger privileges (which, my kids argued, we could not have survived without) until I replaced the graphic with the 20-yard line photo you see in the image above. (Groan! Some people’s kids!) You don’t win all of them but you have to keep Making. and Believing.

Tag line: Only $50 a year and we make change
Client: Hubbards & Area Business Association

We wanted to connect the Hubbards & Area Business Association’s small business support role to its legendary reputation for community action, and encourage new membership. We did so with the Graphic Language tag line, “Membership is only $50 a year and we make change.” The Association is the heart of this seaside Nova Scotia community. They still use this tag line to promote membership in this community business association that does so much more for the area than just promote shop local campaigns — from landscaping to fundraising to youth projects.

Tag line: Good work. Good value. I swear.
Client: The Graphic Language Company

I don’t swear nearly as much as I used to — it must be old age, more women or fewer Canadians in this Mediterranean neck of the woods. The good work and the good value haven’t changed one iota though.

Guaranty GMAC Real Estate Halifax, "Get in. Dream Big." transit bus wrap graphics photo

Tag line: Get in. Sit down. Dream Big.
Client: Guaranty GMAC Realty

Get in. Sit down. Dream Big. was the Graphic Language tag line that drove this multi-year, scenically-illustrated (by award-winning artist Bonnie Ross), Halifax regional public transit bus wrap along with interior and street-side signage. The campaign won a runner-up award at GMAC’s international awards presentation in Las Vegas.

Kisserup International Trade Roots logo

Tag line: International Trade Roots
Client: Kisserup International Trade Roots Inc.

Kisserup is the name of the tiny Danish village that is the birthplace of the founder of this women-owned, global export trade training and business development company. We used roots instead of routes in the name to reflect the company’s Danish roots and the SME and microbusiness focus of its mission.

Tag line: We’re all a loan.
Pitch for: kiva.org

Kiva is a U.S. NPO that has been crowdfunding loans to entrepreneurs, students and families since 2005. “We’re all a loan.” was my entry in their tag line competition. It didn’t win.

Tag line: Walk on Water Service
Client: Liquid Group of Companies

It’s a widely-held notion that Bermuda has the highest number of churches per capita in the world. Whether that’s true or not, Bermudians certainly have a great sense of (often self-deprecating) humour, and (almost) everyone “got” that no disrespect was meant by this company’s way of expressing its mission to deliver unparalleled service.

Paradise Coffee Grand Cayman Keurig Brewing banner cut-out

Tag line: A revolution is brewing.
Client: Paradise Coffee, Grand Cayman

Paradise Coffee introduced the concept of Keurig® single-cup brewing to Grand Cayman. We launched the brand in George Town with this tag line. Dagnabbit if I can find the original graphic but here’s the thirty-second radio spot that went along with it:

SFX: ANGRY CROWD
ANNCR: Every five hundred years or so a revolution comes along that changes everything.
SFX: CAPPUCCINO MACHINE (make sure this SFX isn’t too harsh)
ANNCR: And every 30 seconds or so a revolutionary Paradise Coffee single-cup brewer can make you the perfect cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. It’ll revolutionize the way you think, drink and love your coffee or tea!
MILITARY MUSIC IN
ANNCR: Paradise Coffee is bringing this worldwide revolution to Grand Cayman with their single-cup Keurig brewers – perfect for both home and the office. They’re sleek, efficient and they’ll brew any of more than 100 delicious varieties.

Tag 1: A revolution is brewing online at Paradise Coffee dot k-y. Visit the Paradise Coffee showroom in the D-M-S Centre on Eastern Avenue, across from Uncle Bill’s or call Fritz at 943-33-88.

Tag 2: Join the brewing revolution at Paradise Coffee from October 9th to the 11th in Booth number 14 at the Business & Technology Expo at the Family Life Center or call Fritz anytime at 943-33-88.

Not quite "Get Over It" trade show graphic for Smart Bridgewater

Tag line: Get over it.
Client: Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

For better or worse, the town of Bridgewater, “The Main Street of Nova Scotia’s South Shore,” has a long-standing reputation as a sleepy, rural, retirement community. The brief from Smart Bridgewater required creating copy and graphics that would attract new business and younger citizens. We warped the word BRIDGEWATER into a bridge shape and created the tag line, “Get Over It” to invite readers to “get over” their preconceptions of the town.

Lolitas rowing dory number one in the 2006 World Tuna Flat Rowing Races

Tag line 1: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Plaice Winners
Tag line 2: Smells like fish. Tastes like beer. Sounds like Bluegrass.
Tag line 3: Rowing on the Cove Laughing #ROCL
Client: Canada’s annual World Tuna Flat Rowing Races

Tuna Flats are indigenous to St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia and are often pictured in the province’s tourism promotions. They are the squat, typically green boats used by fishermen to check their mackerel and tuna pens. The word ‘flat’ comes from the fact that three or four burly men can all stand on one side of these craft and haul a thousand-pound tuna over the side without capsizing the boat.

Due to their low, wide design, they are very cumbersome to row, however that is precisely what happens each July in Hubbards Cove. Teams of four navigate the Tuna Flats over a quarter mile course. It is strictly amateur, fun, silly-costumed and intensely competitive racing event that, surprising as it may sound, has yet to be covered by ESPN.


Where you’ll find David Sedaris

My first, crying-with-laughter encounter with author David Sedaris was through his 2008 collection of essays, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” that I borrowed from one of the Banksia Lake Cottages during a five-day road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide with another, much taller than both Sedaris and I, author, Garry Gilfoy. “Another Hitchhiker’s Guide” is another road-tripping-with-Garry story and what I took from his book, “The BIG Picture.”

Short-eared owl photo courtesy Mathew Schwartz at Unsplash

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