You know those logos that you’ve seen, the ones that look so phallic it simply can’t be an accident. Or the domain names that actually read as something rude. The lack of forethought seems to have spread over onto straplines too, and these stand out more than you could possibly imagine on the back of a van.

I was driving back from a meeting in London when I found myself behind a Plumbase-branded transit van. Aside from the usual annoyance of not being able to see past a hi-top van on a windy country road, I was hit with the sudden urge to smack myself in the forehead. Ladies and gentleman I present to you the Plumbase strapline:

“Plumbase: You’ll keep coming back…”

Plumbase van

How did the designer not notice this? How did the chap wrapping the van in vinyl not notice? How did the guy who picked up the vans not notice? How did the driver not notice? A quick google shows that I’m not the only other person that noticed!

Really? You don’t see what’s so bad about it? Let me break it down; if you sell parts or services that fix something, the last thing you want to tell your customers is that they’ll be back again! It stirs all sorts of mixed emotions like “Oh maybe what they sell me won’t fix it the first time” or “Maybe the part I buy there will break and I’ll need another” because honestly, why else would anyone need to keep coming back?

I’m going to type the first five ideas for straplines that pop into my head and I bet not one of them is that awful:

  • Supplying the industry since 1994
  • UK’s largest heating and plumbing merchants
  • The no. 1 choice for plumbers
  • Over 180 branches nationwide
  • We’re here when you need us

And I’m not a copywriter! So it got me thinking, why don’t small companies seem to hire copywriters? It seems to be thought of as an option for higher budgets, but in reality it’s a fundamental requirement of every piece of advertising you ever do. Just like design. You wouldn’t try to build your office by yourself, and you wouldn’t get your plumber to do it either. I’m a designer with a good grasp of what works and what doesn’t in copy but even I hire a copywriter (usually the superb Allday) whenever my client allows it.

Other funny straplines

Got any others you’ve found? Share them in the comments and I’ll add the best ones to this post. I feel a little unfair picking on Plumbase alone, there’s got to be more!