Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stronger Connected

"Oh my gosh, how can you stand that billboard at Franklin and Tennessee?" asked my coworker, who called me while stopped at the intersection.  She was referring to this:




This is an example of grammar that, while not technically incorrect, is just awkward. According to the Columbia Business Times, "Stronger Connected" is a trademarked slogan developed as part of communications giant CenturyTel's 2009 rebranding to CenturyLink.

The slogan generated 18 responses on the http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r23428650-Grammar-Question site, many of which questioned whether "Stronger Connected" is grammatically correct. Two of my favorite comments were:

I think they should have chosen a less confusing wording. (from nwrickert)

and

I agree that more gooder grammar would have certainly been the case here. (from John Gault)

Gooder or not, my mind wants to tinker with this wording. Although it is less concise, I would go with "Be more strongly connected to what you love." The problem with my mind's revision is that it may not be true to CenturyLink's intent, which is (possibly) that I feel that I would be STRONGER (i.e. more fortified) if I could easily and affordably connect to what (or who) I love.

Here in Tallahassee, we have another member of the "Stronger Connected" family, on Capital Circle Northeast:





The "Stronger Connected to What You Love" sign was obscured in September when a Leon High School (across the street) took it over (literally, our Principal was sitting up there on the ledge along with the Athletic Director) as part of the run-up to Leon's Poker Run to fight cancer. My friend Susan, who teaches math at Leon and is a serious language lover to boot, said she was sad to see the "Stronger Connected" billboard reappear - she said it irritates her every time she sees it on her way to work.

Wouldn't you love to have been in on the brainstorming sessions that resulted in the creation of this slogan? If this is what merited the outlay of valuable advertising funds, I wonder what slogans didn't become contenders!

Ken McMahon, Vice President and General Manager, said "The message is that together we're stronger. We believe in connecting people to what matters most, and that is to each other. Our connections are easy, accessible and affordable.”

"Stronger connected" is quirky enough that it has us talking; but not compelling enough to make me feel positive about the brand. In CenturyLink's 2009 Annual Report, page one says "Stronger Connected," page two is headed "Stronger," and page three is headed "Connected." (Pages four through twelve cover all of the other typical "annual report" stuff.)

Something tells me that "Stronger Connected" is one merger CenturyLink could have done without.

2 comments:

Karen Thurston Chavez said...

This is awesome, Paula!

My 15-year-old son saw the billboard the other day and said, "Mom! 'Stronger connected'? Really? That's wrong. Isn't it?"

I sure think so. I think the grammar in that slogan is wronger than a three-winged duck!

Marcel said...

Reminds me of when Apple used Think Different instead of Think Differently.

Also, I think I'll post this on BB and link to your post!