No Secret to this tag line: It’s hot.

July 11, 2008

I want to give props to a campaign idea that knocked me out. Not so much because of the executions (although they’re fine), but for its line. Yes, this copywriter went gaga over a sentence. It happens. I felt that way about “Curiously Strong Mints” or “Nothing runs like a Deere.”

The current object of my affection is for Secret antiperspirant. The line: Secret. Because you’re hot.

Get it? Women perspire…because they’re hot. And they’re beautiful, sexy, desirable…Hot. That’s good copy, my friends: simple, direct, and original.

Hamstrung by a difficult category, the campaign probably won’t win many creative prizes. But it’s powerful advertising. As a writer, I know how excited I would have been creating and, for that matter, presenting this idea. As a creative director I would have had a hard time concentrating on anything else.

Executed properly, that sentence -nay, that declaration- could transform Secret from a tier two deodorant to a pop culture must have. Done right “Because you’re hot” is the elusive and proverbial BIG IDEA. That’s what clients pay us to create: sentences like that. If you’re a copywriter and think otherwise I want to hear why.

I love it when advertising copy has this kind of power. Lots of clever lines get written, read and forgotten. Few become transcendent. Those lines tend to be more smart than clever. You don’t even have to like the product or the advertising to appreciate them. I worked on the original “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign. That line was a perfect example. “Because you’re hot” might be another.

10 Responses to “No Secret to this tag line: It’s hot.”

  1. Jason Fox said

    I am amazed that this line got through. Here are just a few of the arguments I’m sure it faced on it’s improbable* march to daylight:

    It’s too simple. It’s too obvious. It’s too Paris Hilton. It’s too young. It’s too edgy. It doesn’t promote Secret’s USP. It’s too generic. It’s too sexual. It’s too sexist. Soccer moms won’t get it. You could slap any women’s deodorant brand in front of that line. It’s too niche-y. It’s too broad. I don’t get it.

    My test of a good tagline: You read it and think to yourself, “Well, duh.” In a good way.


    *I don’t know Secret’s agency. Maybe they do stuff like this all the time.

  2. Suex said

    Although I find the Secret campaign annoying, I see your point. I just get bugged whenever I see advertisers talking about women in terms of a hotness factor. Given that f’d up reality, it’s a pretty good line.

  3. Jason Fox said

    Well, at least they’re polite enough to call women hot. As opposed to stinky, stanky or, my favorite euphemism, glowing.

  4. SRP said

    There is something about the campaign that bugs me too. But the line is so sheer. The double meaning so clean. As a writer I adore it. As a man…

  5. Erin Donahue said

    I saw this campaign for the first time the other day, and thought the EXACT same thing–great tagline. And I’m not a copywriter- but the play on words immediately caught my attention, and I loved it. It was just one of those things that stuck out to me and every time I see a new Secret spot, I chuckle a little at what a great little line it is. Funny to see you point it out as well!

  6. SRP said

    You know what’s good…That’s “because you’re smart.”

  7. jay said

    I honestly can’t think of a single other campaign that uses sexual humor for a female-gendered (in terms of brand personality….or a more traditional way of thinking about it–female-targeted–brand). That adds to the novelty of this, but it’s certainly risky…sex usually doesn’t sell to well to women, especially sexual humor. Can anyone else think of a single women’s brand (or specific advertisement) that uses sexual humor?

  8. jay said

    apologies for my grammar…i’m getting a ph.d. but apparently can’t write

  9. Marie said

    I’ve been using that slogan on my website for a while not knowing that SECRET also uses it. How long have they been using it?

  10. SRP said

    Couple years…
    Different category than yours (lucky) so you should be able to coexist. Great line for your scheme as well.

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