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On the Road to Success: AA Scores an A

October 2023

This is a self-funded case study using our ad testing solution.

“Slogans never change anything. They don't grow market share or find you a job or win you an election."

These pointed words from marketing heavyweight Seth Godin might seem like an odd opener for a thought piece singing the praises of taglines, but they do hold a lot of truth. A slogan on its own amounts to very little; however, when it taps into an emotion, leverages a consumer insight, or ultimately unifies a wider campaign idea, it can be one of the most powerful tactics in a marketers’ toolkit.

So, if a good slogan becomes the ‘symptom of a brand’s story’, it offers tremendous potential for marketers. As a mechanism for driving both engagement and brand recognition, slogans have been a central component of some of the most effective (and notably, enduring) campaigns in history. This includes long-standing creative platforms from the likes of Specsavers (“Should’ve Gone to Specsavers”) and Uber Eats (“Tonight, I’ll Be Eating”), which have performed extremely well when tested amongst consumers — reinforcing the transformational power of a well-crafted one-liner (and, of course, overarching campaign idea).

This all brings us to a new entrant to the list — U.K. automotive services giant the AA, who recently launched their “It’s OK, I’m With The AA” campaign platform. The consumer response was, to say the least, fruitful — and here’s the 3 key reasons why:

  1. It heroes the brand and central proposition: By reinforcing the catchphrase at the end of each individual story, the ad successfully: 1. Linked the narrative back to the brand in a clear, unforgettable way; and 2. Humorously conveyed the desired message. Through presenting the brand as the ‘solution’ to whatever predicament the characters found themselves in (whether it was something the AA could solve or not!), it reinforced perceptions of reliability and offering a wide range of automotive services — elements that were comparatively lost when the brand took a detour with the short-lived introduction of canine “Tukker” in 2020.
  2. It’s catchy, humorous, and memorable: The overall idea of everyday people being unfazed when faced with a predicament (because of the misguided confidence they get from being a member of the AA) appealed to many, with viewers finding the characters and ploys — no matter how far-fetched — highly amusing. Similarly to Specsavers, the catchphrase acts as the glue which brings the whole story together, with the clever strapline looping back to the brand in a memorable way.
  3. It’s versatile: Perhaps the most important element when assessing whether a catchphrase has the ability to endure over the long-term is its adaptability. Wrong fuel in the car? It’s OK, I’m With The AA. Misplaced keys? It’s OK, I’m With The AA. Driving into an open portal? It’s OK, I’m With The AA. Whatever the circumstances the phrase can be made to work.

We’re of course not suggesting that the tagline will transcend culture in the same way Specsavers and Uber Eats have (or for that matter Kit Kat’s “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat” or Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”). But it doesn’t have to; the fact is that the AA has still landed on a catchy and distinctive idea that has the potential to be adapted to a wide range of humorous, unwelcome scenarios. And with consistent reinforcement, you never know — it could one day hit the marketing jackpot and enter British vernacular!

Get in touch to speak to one of our consultants about our ad testing & tracking solution. Expert-led, evidence-based insights — which don’t break the bank.

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