In 2016, Luxembourg’s national branding unveiled a new look and a catchy slogan “Let’s make it happen.”
The slogan in itself is genius.
The usage of the word ‘let’s’ not only encompasses a feeling of togetherness, but at the same time embodies the cultural aspect of the Luxembourgish word 'Lëtzebuerg,' while subtly nodding to the multilingualism within the Grand Duchy. It's simple, clever and most of all originally creative.
If you know anything about me, you know I love a good play on words. Alliteration, rhymes, puns? Sign me up!
But in my opinion, this once phenomenal play on words has since lost all effectiveness, as it seems when it comes to branding in Luxembourg, being part of the crowd is clearly more important than standing out.
The 'letz' branding trope is so overused that it is haphazardly thrown on products, organizations and clubs without reflection if the term even works, let alone if it adds anything to the brand itself.
I’ll give an example that works (these gents are my friends and hilarious, so I’ll throw them a bone as a good example ): 'Letz' Talk Sport. Here 'letz' is used in the capacity of ‘let’s’ or ‘let us,’ which within the context, works quite well. Why not? Let us talk about sports in Luxembourg on our radio show.
Now, a less appropriate usage: 'Letz' Cola. While both delicious and refreshing in their selection of flavours, ‘letz’ does not work in this context. Let us cola? Ok, maybe they meant for it to be read in Luxembourgish… except we hit another snag when we realise 'letz' does not have a meaning in Luxembourgish.
If the brand wanted to highlight the Luxembourgish-ness, why not use Lux instead? LuxLait, Lux Air, CargoLux…uh-oh I think I may have inadvertently stumbled upon another example of fitting in vs. standing out…
I had the intention of cataloguing the number of products and brands using the term ‘letz’ within their brand name or slogan, however it quickly became clear that the sheer magnitude of letz-thingamajigs was far greater than I ever could have imagined.
Go ahead, Google it and then see how many of those products and organizations actually stood out to you. It’s likely that none did, because how can one stand out in a sea of brands that all seem to have the same identity, values and name?
As a creative person, this complete lack of originality within the Luxembourgish market severely pains me. Not only has the 'letz' branding trope become a bit of a meme I find the lack of thought placed behind its usage at times lazy and slightly offensive.
For me, the absolute last straw with ‘letz’ branding came in a campaign against violence against women. An incredibly important cause which we should be talking about, I in no way am debating the validity of this cause. Which is where my frustration comes from in this context.
How should we get behind a slogan as banal as “letz stop violence against women”? What value did throwing the word ‘letz’ into the sentence add?
Wouldn’t a more powerful phrase simply be “stop violence against women”? Simple. Powerful. Clear. Matter-of-fact. No gimmicks, no attempts at cute turns of phrase, just raw and poignant, full stop.
I refuse to believe that this is the absolute best the creative-minds of Luxembourg can come up with. In fact, I’m sure it has far less to do with the copywriters, brand managers and designers than it does with the actual clients.
So my question is to clients, or anyone starting a business: Why wouldn't you want your product to stand out? Why don't you trust the creatives to get you noticed? What are you afraid of?
But sadly, it seems that for the time being at least, instead of originality and creativity we’re destined to be met with yet another 'letz' product which serves little more than to induce an eye roll.
Letz please just stop.