Innovating passion

I saw an ad for GE Healthcare in Dubai airport today.

In de rigueur lower case lettering, it told me that GE have ‘innovative healthcare solutions’.

This current obsession with innovation baffles me. I’ve mentioned Sun’s worst ever ad on this blog before – ‘Passionate about innovation’, probably the most meaningless slogan Sun ever used. It said nothing about what we produced and what we could do. Even for a native English speaker, it’s hard to understand what on earth they were getting at. It was lazy advertising waffle.

Maybe I am simply being thick, or I am not the target market, but the majority of products and ‘solutions’ that are being touted as ‘innovative’ are not things I want to be innovative. It carries negative connontations for me. I think of innovative as being clever but unproven, nifty but unreliable.

I don’t want an ‘innovative’ healthcare solution for me and mine. I want to know that GE produce reliable solutions that work and which are tried and tested. I don’t want a seating solution, I want a chair.

I would also assume that innovation would be part of the process anyway and doesn’t need to be specifically mentioned – if we’re talking technology, saying that your latest product is innovative is pointless, surely? Does it not go without saying that you’ve been innovative? It’s not as if the competition are boasting that they’re producing the same old tat and you have to differentiate by making it clear you’re not.

The steering column in my Range Rover is innovative. It uses all sorts of innovative features to move in and out and up and down when you start the engine or stop it. The only passion it arouses is in its customers when it breaks, because some engineer in Coventry forgot to add robustness to their innovation. The dealer’s pricelist for fixing all these innovations is very innovative when it comes to fleecing customers. These are the things that come to mind when I hear the word ‘innovation’ , unless we’re talking about really high tech stuff, or a really clever and radical rethinking of an otherwise standard product or service.

Apple have go it right – ‘Think Different’ works well for me. They’re taking standard products and doing them really well, or giving them a new twist. I’m not sure if they were the first to do so, but by using ‘different’ rather than ‘differently’ Apple are also part of a slew of slogans using an adjective rather than an adverb. We also have ‘stay different’ (Jumeirah) and various others. Keep an eye out for them – as soon as you start looking, you’ll see they’re everywhere. Attentivate passionately and you’ll notice that this style of tagline ubiquitises global.

So come on, Mad Men of today, start being a bit more innovative when it comes to your campaigns. Be passionately against meaningless blurb and remember it’s not a solution if it’s a standard product that does what that product has always done for years – an x-ray machine, a chair, an oven, a car are not solutions and ‘innovation’ needs to be used wisely, not just slapped on everything because it sounds cool. Copywrite good, please.

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