I noticed a big advertisement today in the Wall Street Journal for Covidien, the medical device company recently spun off from its former Tyco Healthcare identity.
I think it was good to separate Covidien from Tyco (which had a number of unrelated businesses under its umbrella), and the name Covidien, if not all that inspired and memorable, is at least acceptable. After all, it is a difficult challenge these days coming up with new names.
But the logo and tagline left me snoozing. Covidien has just joined the Branding Zzzzzzzz list
And the tagline, Positive Results for Life, is yet another retread from the pharma/healthcare/biotech bargain bin. Some of the most uninspired and insipid taglines have been adopted by our industry, all vaguely promising health/life/goodness in a way that is utterly non-differentiating. I’m reminded of a phrase from A Christmas Carol, where young Ebenezer Scrooge gives a response that is “terribly safe.” That’s what these taglines are. With an emphasis on both words.
I don’t yet know who came up with this logo. Maybe, after I finish this post, I’ll look it up. But let’s take a flight of fancy here, and imagine we’re in the boardroom, as the agency gives its explanation/rationalization for this look:
“The background field of blue represents the universal desire for long life and health, tapping into the singular global aspirations that a healthcare provider such as Covidien will be a premier provider of positive results toward that end. Since the earth is mostly water, and water represents life, we encased the logo in the uplifting presence of a sea of calming ocean blue. Of course, the medical cross symbol is recognized across the universe as a positive and aspirational symbol of well-being, and now it is softened and yet heightened by being re-stylized in enriching shades of health-inducing cerulean, leading the thoughts and feelings of the onlooking world to pleasant deliberations of the intersection of medical devices and ongoing health. The merging of life-giving blue palettization, the subtly blatant medical undercurrent, and modern encapsulations of individual aspirations will create the inevitable conclusion that Covidien creates positive results for life.”
And now, rewind a day into the design studio as the logo and tagline are being feverishly finished off for the next day’s presentation:
“Did you whip that thing up in Powerpoint?”
“Yeah…took me about an hour and a half. I billed 45 days of creative time for the team, however.”
“Looks like a couple of colorized Band-Aids to me.”
“Ain’t life grand? I came up with that this morning while fixing a shaving nick.”
“And did you pump something out of that funky ObviousTaglines.com website?”
“Oh, yeah – it was great! I just told it ‘healthcare’, selected a couple standard keywords, and out came ‘Positive Results for Life’. It’s a beautiful thing. And, I now have 10 others we can use for our next client. Anyone want ‘Your Health is our Life’s Work’? How about ‘Because a Healthy Life is our One Purpose’? Or ‘Your Life is our Promise’? I got this stuff down!”
All right, I made all that up. I’m sure a bit more effort went into this. But I wonder…how much did this branding cost? And why is it so…undistinguished?