Finally, a cable network has come up with a promotional tagline that makes sense.
The network is TruTV, and the tagline the network announced Thursday is: “Funny because it’s tru.”
In four words, this tagline sums up the brand philosophy of this Turner-owned network whose shows include “Impractical Jokers,” “The Carbonaro Effect” and “Billy on the Street.”
They’re “true-life” shows in which the protagonists interact with ordinary people in extraordinary ways. On “Impractical Jokers,” four lifelong friends who are now immature adults play pranks and generally misbehave in encounters they film with men and women on the street. This show is edge-of-your-seat hilarious.
On “The Carbonaro Effect,” magician Michael Carbonaro takes on a variety of identities -- store clerk, art gallery manager, construction site supervisor, to name a few -- and fools innocent customers and co-workers with mind-blowing magic tricks. I can’t get enough of this show.
“Billy on the Street” has manic comic performer Billy Eichner accosting passersby on New York streets and suddenly screaming incongruous trivia questions at them -- among other things. The show is a scream too.
The descriptions above are certainly accurate, but they’re a tad wordy. I wish there was a simpler way of describing all of them, and the other shows on Tru, all at once. I know! How about: “Funny because it’s tru.”?
See what I’m getting at here? At last, a cable network tagline that really nails it. The shows on Tru are funny and they derive from “true” life. This four-word tagline is spot on.
Tru developed this new tagline (I guess we don’t call them “slogans” anymore) with an agency partner, WorkinProgress. The tagline is being applied to all TruTV promotion -- including new promo spots featuring the “stars” of TruTV’s shows (most of them anyway) that satirize the gleaming, polished promos that we’ve seen for years on “mainstream” TV such as broadcast networks.
This tagline is refreshing in another way too. It bucks a trend in the cable network business of coming up with taglines consisting of just one or two words that are almost purposely vague. National Geographic recently unveiled a one-word tagline: “Further” -- which now appears in its promotion materials, as in: “National Geographic. Further.”
Not too long ago, Turner Classic Movies came up with “Let’s movie,” a tagline that oddly turned a noun -- “movie” -- into a verb. The TV Blog turned thumbs down on this approach. That column pointed out some of the other cable network taglines then in use, including Oxygen’s “Very real” (pretty good), AMC’s “Something more” (pretty vague) and A&E’s “Be original” (an attempt at positioning A&E as unique in the pantheon of basic cable channels -- a positioning statement that is more or less accurate).
But “Funny because it’s tru” harkens back to an era in advertising in which slogans like it were commonplace, if not the goal of every ad campaign. For some reason, cigarette slogans from my long-ago childhood leap immediately to mind in this context: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should,” or “I’d rather fight than switch” -- commercials that featured Tareyton smokers with black eyes.
Well, you might say TruTV’s new tagline accurately sums up the content this network has curated for itself. Or to put it another way: This tagline sounds good, like a cable network tagline should.