Here’s a Tagline That’s About Two Decades Ahead of its Time

The country of Colombia is spending some $5 million to re-position its brand and attract American tourism dollars. Their tagline? "Colombia es Pasion"  (Colombia is Passion). Colombia

Now, Colombia is many things to many people, but passion isn't exactly the first word that would pop into this blogger's mind.

Colombia's general manager for country image (great job title, btw) says the "Pasion" timing couldn't be better since reality lags behind perception. I'll say it does. Colombia is passion? Colombia is drug cartels. Colombia is decadence, death and despotism. Colombia is the birthplace of the Western Hemisphere's massive drug problem. Good luck attracting newlyweds to an all-inclusive honeymoon in Bogota. "Honey, it all comes down to snorkeling in the Turks & Caicos, a week touring the South of France or fun, sun and guns in Colombia. What would make you happiest? Really? Dodging bullets and touring cocaine manufacturing facilities in Colombia? Ok. You got it."

Just once, I'd love to see countries, companies and celebrities use some semblance of reality in their taglines. For example, how about:

– Sarah Palin: "Unprepared and loving it!"
– General Motors: "Spending $1 billion a month more than we earn"
– Barack Obama: "Saying nothing and meaning every word"
– Alan Greenspan: "Dead wrong, but too old to care"
– McDonald's: "Expanding your waistlines as your wallets constrict"
– The U.S.A.: "You think 476 A.D. was something? Watch this empire flame out"

Got some suggested taglines you'd like to share? Have at it.

15 thoughts on “Here’s a Tagline That’s About Two Decades Ahead of its Time

  1. The original blog was based upon a New York Times article. The article stated that, while Colombia has made great strides towards improving its horrific drug-related crime rate, there was still a long way to go. If you grasped the implications of image and reputation, you’d understand that an advertising campaign suddenly proclaiming Colombia to be the next great, undiscovered vacation spot will fail miserably since the average tourist still thinks of gun lords, mass murders and drugs pouring across the country’s border. If you’re going to talk smack about an image and reputation blog, study image and reputation first.

  2. listen if you’re ganna talk smack about Colombia atleast do some research to back it up cuz youre pretty much 100% wrong! how embarrassing to try to talk about something you clearly have no idea about!

  3. From US Dept of State website: “Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable… The countries listed below meet those criteria.” Colombia is listed. I am more likely to pay attention to that press than “Colombia is Passion.”

  4. Sophistication in Security.
    Distinction in Defense.
    And we will protect you from any crazy XYZ.
    Duck Rep that dude may be right behind you.

  5. XYZ, even though you choose to post anonymously and water your argument down with inappropriate attacks on the character of not just me but my employees (and dogs everywhere, for that matter), you raise some interesting points that deserve a response. I agree that Colombia has some nice travel destinations within the country, and I’m not debating the source of many of their drug problems. However, the popular perception remains that Colombia is a place of drugs, despotism, and death, and that can’t be changed overnight. In my opinion, an ersatz tagline holds no credibility with the majority of the public today. To sway public opinion, Colombia has to move one step at a time and build up to something like this when it might ring true in popular perception a few years from now.

  6. Phillies: Proving that there is a God since October 29, 2008
    National Enquirer: CNN’s New Wire
    Prepaid Credit Cards: The new, super sketchy way to endorse
    Saks Fifth Ave: Now owned by the GOP

  7. I’ve heard that taglines should be “aspirational.” In light of this post, Steve, I wonder if the rule should be changed to “desperational” . . .

  8. Corona – Great marketing never tasted so bad
    Nike – Inspiration … Just buy it
    Budweiser – Getting ugly people _ _ _ _ for over 100 years
    eBay – You’ll feel better about buying crap when you win it!
    Disney – We’re continually trying to build a better Mousetrap
    Alaska – Where the men are men, and the women are presidential material

  9. Here’s a tagline for you: Repman Is an Ignorant Blowhard.
    Your moronic post on Colombia’s tagline should have your clients pause and ask themselves if the head of their PR firm actually reads the news. Becuase if you did, Repman, you would know that Colombia today is not drugs, violence and cartels. It’s actually America’s strongest ally in South America. Pick up the New York Times and you can read about how Medellin, once the playground of Pablo Escobar, is emerging as an important center of culture and commerce. Bogota, which you derided in your post, was not only listed by the NY Times as one of the 50 places every traveler should make a point of visiting in 2008, it’s also where Anderson Cooper chose to vacation a few months ago and where he had a splendid time. You can read about it on his blog. And Cartagena, on the country’s Caribbean coast, has been profiled in publications from Town & Country Travel to Conde Nast Traveler as one of the most glamorous destinations in South America.
    But what would you know about glamour? You named your “PR firm” after a dog.
    Let’s make one thing clear: Colombia’s drug problem stems from the U.S.’ insatiable demand for cocaine. You can read about that in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair.
    It’s very easy to spit out a nasty and ignorant blog post so that your no-talent publicists can have something to read and commend you for in the middle of the day. However, for the sake of your blog and reputation, do some more reading before you take to the keyboard.

  10. Thanks Art. I’ve worked for a few of those types of companies over the years. I remember one dotcom client that had no desire other than going IPO and cashing in. Our suggested tagline? “We’re in it for the money. Period.”

  11. Excellent post, Steve–and hilarious, too. In one of my former companies, we used to joke about the brand by using the tagline, “You can buy better, but you’ll never pay more.”