Heater Follows Emerging Trend, Forsakes Tagline in Reebok Spots

What’s happening to taglines? Like jingles, they seem to be disappearing from new advertising with increasing frequency.
Reebok International is among a growing number of prominent advertisers allowing only its name and logo to position the brand.
Two Reebok spots now airing from Heater Advertising speak effectively enough that no tagline is necessary, said John Wardley, Reebok’s director of worldwide advertising. “Taglines are very transient things. Our tagline is Reebok and the vector.”
TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., reportedly lured Levi’s as a new client on the premise that the brand become the tagline. Reebok and Levi’s are not isolated cases, however, and Boston-area creative directors say tagline-free ads are a sign of the times.
Jeff Billing of Partners & Simons claims the use of taglines has gone the way of the “jingle mentality.” “Advertising today is much more thoughtful. It’s less interested in getting people to sing your song than it is in getting people to consider your product,” he said.
“I don’t think [taglines are] always necessary,” agreed Paul Silverman, chief creative officer of Mullen in Wenham, Mass. “I think they’re overrated. If you can make it work without one, more power to you. I think a lot of taglines, when you pull them away from the rest of the ad, are banal and silly.”
While Ingalls creative director Rob Rich estimates that 80 percent of the agency’s ads carry taglines, he said the market is “maturing” and shifting away from automatically adding them.
“Now that branding has become a big buzzword, the easiest way to prove you’re branding something is the tagline,” said Rich. “But it is a really difficult task, and that’s another reason why people have strayed away from it.”
Nike has not employed a tagline for some time, using instead its Swoosh. “Whether Reebok has that kind of bang, I don’t know,” Silverman said.