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“You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think” Dorothy Parker

I think aphorisms rock and make any strategy, presentation, brief, conversation go with a swing. So here is a little aphorism tool kit.


I find it handy to carry around in my head a clutch of sayings, quotes and famous phrases that can be repurposed willy nilly as neat aphorisms for any occasion.
Its not the most original way to create a good aphorism but it was good enough for Dorothy Parker so its good enough for me. Here are a handful of the most useful
1) “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others” (Orwell) – Handy if you want to elevate one brand in the portfolio, one strategy under discussion or one channel in the media plan.
2) “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” (Blair) – Tough on churn, tough on the causes of churn is particularly good for Sky. Your brand will have its own issues you need to come down hard on.
3) “Education, education, education” (Blair) – Good if you want to highlight just how important something is to the cause. Best if the words concerned end in ‘tion’ like facilitation or rotation or perhaps irritation.
4) “Its the ecomnomy stupid” (Clinton) – same as above. I once wrote a proposition using this base for Tango aimed at getting the brand focused back on what had made them famous.’Its the Oranges stupid’ worked a treat.
5) “There’s life Jim but not as we know it” (Star Trek) – I used this one recently to illustrate that in the seemingly own label dominated dairy market there are brands but not as we know them. Works particularly well if your CEO is called Jim
6) “Reasons to be cheerful, one , two, three” (Ian Dury) – I was once involved in an ad for Briatin’s leading muesli that used the late Mr Dury’s song (indeed he re-recorded it for us) and the line ‘reasons to eat Alpen, one, two, three’. Gives any list of recommendations a lyrical boost. But I’m still ashamed of the Alpen ad.
7) “It does exactly what it says on the tin” (HHCL for Ronseal) – Bit obvious but its a phrase for which there is actually no readily available alternative – thats why we use it all the time. Try manipulating it into your own aphorism rather than just quoting it.
8) Anything from Withnail as long as you are only talking to other Withnail fans – otherwise ‘here, strategy, here’ is likely to be meaningless.
Give me more that we might all shamlessly plunder them.

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