The Slogan Doctor

AXA - Be Life Confident. It’s not exactly English, is it? ‘Life confident’ can only be a compound adjective.

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

It's not exactly English, is it? 'Life confident' can only be a compound adjective, but compound adjectives – 'user-friendly', 'IBM-compatible', 'trigger-happy' – need a hyphen. So it should be 'life-confident'. But is there such a phrase? No. Despite sounding like a bad translation, the slogan, devised in 2003, was created by TBWA in London for AXA's global HQ in Paris. Its unidiomatic quality is unlikely to worry the French-owned financial services giant. The line is translatable, but even in English makes as much sense in Thailand, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong as here. Or as little. The line is meant to suggest that being 'confident' in AXA's financial products will leave its customers free to enjoy 'life' (in the ads, funfair rides and parachuting). But the slogan reflects the vogue for adding a redundant 'life' to ordinary words to make them trendy: 'life skills', 'life partner', 'life experience', 'life choices'. Like so many slogans, it sticks by irritating. It's an itch you want to scratch. But it beats its groan-inducing predecessor: 'You only have to AXA'.

John Morrish

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Social responsibility may no longer be a choice

Editorial: Having securitised businesses’ loans and paid their wage bills, it’s not inconceivable the government...

What went wrong at Wirecard

And how to stop it happening to you.

Leadership lessons from Jürgen Klopp

The Liverpool manager exemplifies ‘the long win’, based not on results but on clarity of...

How to get a grip on stress

Once a zebra escapes the lion's jaws, it goes back to grazing peacefully. There's a...

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...