2 min Read
July 7, 2009

A Tagline that Goes Door-to-Door

My desk at Big Duck features a lovely view of The Watchtower in Brooklyn. If you don’t know The Watchtower, it’s home to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. More specifically, it is the national headquarters for their magazine publication. The property is a sprawling compound (called Bethel by the insiders), several buildings and blocks large, and the J-Dubs cover a good chunk of Dumbo, living amongst the nouveau riche that otherwise populate the neighborhood.

Opinions about the Jehovah’s Witnesses range from “they are the one true faith,” to “I haven’t given them much thought,” and all the way to the other side of “they’re a cult.” I won’t take a stand on that one today.

What I will say is that The Watchtower has a good tagline: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.

Taglines always appear with names. The Watchtower, as a name on its own, doesn’t say what it is. Unless we were insiders (i.e. J-Dubs), we wouldn’t know that The Watchtower is the official publication of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom” helps clarify what it is.

When we work on taglines here at Big Duck, we try to keep to a general rule of eight words or less. This can be a real challenge, especially if a client needs us to somehow explain what it is that they do with the tagline. For example, if a nonprofit working in arts and education needs “arts and education” in the tagline, that’s three of the eight words eaten up already, adding to the challenge.

The Watchtower nailed their tagline in a total of three words. The publication, The Watchtower, announces Jehovah’s Kingdom. So simple. So concise.

Technically, I suppose, The Watchtower is a sub-brand of the overall Jehovah’s Witness brand. I don’t know what their overall tagline is, or if they even have one. I don’t have a view of it.

As it is, that concise tagline stares me down every day, and especially during the past few weeks, when we’re working on several brand identities (logos and taglines) simultaneously, The Watchtower’s tagline taunts me, throwing down a gauntlet, ringing my metaphorical doorbell every single day, challenging me to rise to their level of tagline excellence.

Now if I really wanted to delve more deeply into this conversation, I suppose I’d have to talk about the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ approach to “experiential marketing.” They have a very strong word-of-mouth campaign going, it seems.

But that will have to be a subject for another day.

Dan Gunderman

Dan Gunderman is the Former Creative Director at Big Duck

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