The Slogan Doctor

Royal Mail: With us, it's personal. With competition on its way, the Royal Mail is capitalising on our affection for its army of parcel-passers.

by John Morrish

With competition on its way, the Royal Mail is capitalising on our affection for its army of parcel-passers and the nice surprises they bring. The slogan suggests that being in the Royal Mail is more vocation than job.The commercial, also by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, shows heroic posties battling floods, traffic and dogs to give someone love: or at least, a parcel in the shape of the word.

But when you put your people in the shop window, you need them to behave themselves. The campaign launch last spring was followed by a TV documentary in which sorting office workers were shown taking a personal interest in other people's property. Worse, the slogan sounds more like a threat than a promise. You won't remember Jaws: The Revenge, but you'll recall its tag-line 'This time it's personal'.

It became shorthand for any kind of vendetta. By inadvertently invoking that, the Royal Mail's slogan has achieved something remarkable: it has made those nice people with the bikes and the sacks full of damp letters sound sinister.

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