Taking back control

Creative copywriter Lawre Jones offers a rumination on the power of slogans in the age of the superficial.

Copywriters know that words have power. A slogan can trump anything. Even Trump himself would agree, with his ‘Making America Great Again’ becoming a rallying call for the disaffected in the States. It doesn’t matter that it was rehashed verbatim from a Reagan speech in the 80s.

We can observe the same distillation or dumbing-down (however you choose to view it) of political discourse in the UK. 

We continue to Take Back Control and Get Brexit Done, despite those pesky remainers and their Surrender Bill attempting to thwart our unelected leader.

This rambling and entirely inconsequential blog isn’t a treatise on the power of slogans, nor a lecture on why they’re wrong. Like all copywriting tricks, slogans can be used for positive good or nefarious ends. 

Did three words sway the Brexit vote? It’s difficult to say whether a vacuous slogan inflamed the passions more than a decade of punishing austerity. But we believe that they did.

Hagiographic portrayals of the key figures in the Brexit process like Sherlock delving deep inside the mind of this decade’s real villain, the spin-doctor Dominic Cummings cement this view. The pivotal moment in the film is when dishevelled Dom channels the minds of millions of disenchanted and disenfranchised members of the public and scrawls Take Back Control on the window of his office.

Regardless of whether it’s true or not (spoiler: it’s probably not), the power of the slogan stands out. Three words that unify millions of voices.

Flawed genius

Slogans are superficially deep and deeply superficial. They stand up to no critical scrutiny, which is why they’re so powerful.

A slogan, like the belief that the actions of an entire Government are dictated by Machiavellian mastermind, is more comfortable for us to comprehend than the reality that politics is usually a dirty and complicated compromise. We can project our own perception of reality onto the slogan.

The power of Brexit means Brexit is in its total and utter banality. Without clearly defining what Brexit is, the slogan is meaningless, and yet it was regurgitated thousands of times until it lost its power and had to be replaced.

In a world of sententious politicians who seem to reason in 140 characters or fewer, slogans are reassuring. They provide continuity, context and a reassuring basis on which to pump out pointless propaganda.

Slogans blind us to the reality that the politicians inside the Palace of Westminster are as busted as the building itself. 

What does all of this mean? Nothing really. As a copywriter, sometimes you have to sit back and reflect on just how powerful words are. 

If you need to take back control, let’s get this done. Contact us today

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