The watchwords that periodically waft out of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London have given the term “slogan” a bad name. Not only do they lack imagination. They sound rather contrived and insincere — which is unfortunate as slogans can serve a useful purpose in the shipping industry.
Slogans can be an organisation’s rallying cry and encapsulate its spirit and outlook. Here are a few examples of what a slogan should be — short, easy to remember and, above all, meaningful:
1) “SAVE THE UNITED STATES; HELP RESTORE AMERICA’S FLAGSHIP“
The SS United States Conservancy could not have chosen a better slogan for its campaign to save the 1952-built luxury passenger ship from being despatched to the scrapheap. It appeals to every American’s sense of patriotism. It is a strident call for action, elevating the SS United States from being just a remnant of American maritime history to the status of national symbol which needs to be preserved.
2) “come back new”
California-based Princess Cruises has a three-word marketing slogan to mark its 50th annivesary this year. It is plain but powerful. The suggestion is that a vacation on one of the company’s cruise ships is the perfect answer for old or tired spirits.
3) “FOREVER CUNARD”
Just two words make up Cunard Line’s 175th anniversary slogan. If the phrase “Forever Cunard” sounds hyperbolic, it is nonetheless perfectly justified. The company was founded in 1840 — only three years after the world’s oldest cruise line, P&O Cruises, was established. On Twitter, the Cunard slogan serves as an easy to type, easy to remember hashtag: #ForeverCunard
4) “EXCELLENCE UNCONTAINED”
Filipino global boxport operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. introduced a two-word corporate slogan in 2012, its 25th year of operation. ICTSI appears to have dropped the use of the catchphrase. This is a bit regrettable as the ICTSI slogan is really nifty, a textbook case of effective slogan-writing.
5) “Your Promise. Delivered.”
A corporate video from Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, employs a simple slogan which has strong impact. The phrase “Your promise”implies a personal, even emotional, relationship between the sender and the receiver of the merchandise. It sounds so human. The word “Delivered” connotes concrete, efficient action by the carrier, Maersk Line.
6) “Solidarity Action Strength”
The ITF’s (International Transport Workers’ Federation” slogan is prototypical unionspeak. It may not be very imaginative, but it has a strong, solid ring to it and pretty much describes the ITF.
7) “Cruising Italian Style… That’s Amore“
The advertising motto of Costa Crociere S.p.A., which trades under the name “Costa Cruises” (Costa Crociere in Italian), capitalises on what people usually associate with Italians: elegance, a passion for living and romantic love. It is quite sexy. One wonders, though, if the slogan can still work magic after the 2012 Costa Concordia disaster, which killed 32 people.
Contrary to what one might imagine, the use of slogans in the shipping industry is not very common. Many maritime organisations seem content to having a logo — which is just as well probably. Slogan-writing is an art. Those who are not adept at it are likely to produce banal expressions that mean nothing.
~ Barista Uno
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