The electoral campaign in Québec begins today. We’ll be treated to 33 days of scripted and unscripted brand messages from the main political parties who all claim to be super ready for this campaign, only 18 months after the last one.
We haven’t seen the promises and the ads yet but we’re already getting a glimpse of the political brands’ narratives through their slogans.
“Ensemble, on s’occupe des vraies affaires.”
The PLQ (Québec Liberal Party) inadvertently leaked its slogan yesterday. “Ensemble, on s’occupe des vraies affaires.” translates into “Together, we’re looking after what really matters.” The leader of the PLQ claims that, in Québécois speak, “les vraies affaires” are related to the economy, health and education. Not the divisive issues of identity and separation. It’s a step up from the 2012 campaign slogan “Pour le Québec” (For Québec).
“On se donne Legault.”
The CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec) unveiled its campaign bus yesterday with its slogan. “On se donne Legault.” translates into “We’re giving ourselves the go”. A play on the name of the CAQ’s leader François Legault. This signals a focus on the leader instead of his team. Perhaps a wise decision given that his team seems to have shifting allegiances. One of his star candidate in the last election is now running for the PLQ. The CAQ’s slogan in 2012 was “C’est assez, faut que ça change”. (“That’s enough, things need to change!”)
No word yet on the slogans adopted by the PQ (Parti Québécois) and QS (Québec Solidaire) for this campaign.
The PQ’s slogan in 2012 was “À nous de choisir” (“We have a choice”). If the last year is any indication of the PQ’s brand narrative, expect a slogan related to identity and the bright future of an independent Québec.
QS (Québec Solidaire) had a one word slogan in 2012 with “Debout” (“Standing Up or Stand Up).
Will anyone care about the slogans? Do political taglines make a difference?
The slogans will be displayed on signs planted on snow covered lawns for a month. Some say that taglines are dead and that flexible branding is the new name of the game.
Denise Lee Yohn, who spoke at The Gathering conference I attended in Banff last week, wrote this in Adweek:
There’s certainly evidence that taglines have diminished in importance. Many of the most admired brands—Starbucks, Whole Foods, Lululemon, Nordstrom—don’t have them. Some brands whose taglines helped propel them to greatness no longer use them. Apple hasn’t used “Think different” for years, and the sign-off to its most recent TV ads, “Designed by Apple in California,” is less a tagline than a closing salutation.
Perhaps taglines’ most significant limitation is inherent in their nature. An effective tagline helps a brand stand out in the customer’s mind. As such, taglines work when a brand’s differentiation is derived from a product attribute (Where’s the beef?) or a unique benefit (Tastes great. Less filling). But most brands today are distinguished less by products and features and more by values and personalities. These differentiators can be difficult to convey succinctly.
The way we think about and use taglines needs to change. Carefully consider whether or not one is really needed. If your brand’s differentiation is well-established, perhaps you don’t. Think about the primary media and touch points in which it will be used. Do they lend themselves to the consistent use of a short phrase? If you’re not going to use it regularly, don’t bother having one.
Ultimately, taglines that issue invitations appeal more to people’s current connection-based sensibilities. Coca-Cola’s “Open happiness” and Expedia’s “Find yours” demonstrate the power of inclusion.
The parties will attempt to appeal to what Denise calls “people’s current connection-based sensibilities”. Just don’t expect that to be communicated by all parties via the “power of inclusion”.
Let the campaign begin.
The PQ's slogan is "Plus prospère, plus fort, plus indépendant, plus accueillant". (More prosperous, stronger, more independent, more welcoming). It is less a slogan than the four themes the party will attempt to communicate during the campaign. Note how the softer "sovereignty" of past campaigns has been replaced by "independence". Not that we should read too much into this but the header of the PQ's website says a bit about the emphasis the PQ will put on "indépendance" in the campaign. "Independence comes after the news, the leader, the candidates, the party, the promises, and the the blog. This order could change after the election.