Nice to be back after the holiday break. Hope you survived intact.
As those of you who follow this blog already know, I consider one-word “taglines” to be worthless and inexcusably lazy. You can’t express a differentiating thought about your brand with just one word.
I’ve also spent time railing about the overuse of the word “matters” in taglines. “Such And Such Matters” has been an overused heading, headline and tagline for articles, newsletters and ad campaigns for decades. Playing on the two meanings of “matters” stopped being clever somewhere in the middle of the last century.
I thought Northwest Memorial Hospital had taken that tagcrime to its final absurdity with their tagline “Everything Matters.” With the utterance of that line, the meaning of “matters” is entirely obliterated.
Now, however, Capella University has pioneered new ground by managing to commit two cardinal sins with one word. Their new tagline is, if you can believe it:
Capella University. Matter.
I can only assume that this is intended to be an exhortation to prospective students to attend Cappela (if “attend” is the right verb when speaking of online universities), because, in doing so, you will become a person who matters to others, to the world, a person who will make a difference. Something along those lines.
Or there is the less likely interpretation, that Capella wants to celebrate everything physical in the universe[s]. Or, maybe not celebrate, but simply recognize the existence or the reality of the physical realm?
I’m amazed that they didn’t go for the trifecta and stick an exclamation point after the word.
To me, the most damning aspect of this tagline is what it implies about all those who don’t enjoy the special status of Cappela students. Doesn’t that tagline confer on the rest of us the status of not mattering?
It’s true, they aren’t saying, explicitly, “Attending Capella is the only way to matter.” But there is still a clear implication that they are targeting whichever group of people doesn’t currently matter. Apparently, being a human doesn’t, in and of itself, count for anything.
In all fairness, I must acknowledge that Capella, together with many other institutions of higher learning, have taught me something. I’ve learned that the bulk of colleges and universities, just like the bulk of businesses, have a lot to learn about taglines.