Andrew Hill The ultimate brand challenge: a new slogan for Iran

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's chief marketing officer

Iran’s snappy tagline “Death to America” is so 1980s. It is long overdue a facelift, which is why the country’s new president appears to be pushing for a brand refresh.

The current line’s longevity is no surprise. It meets most of Inc’s “five tips for writing an effective slogan“.

Admittedly, it doesn’t rhyme (but who has ever written a successful rhyming couplet that ends “America”?) and while it definitely underscores the country’s “general mission”, it doesn’t really differentiate the product from, say, al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

On the third requirement, however – “Explain the company’s commitment” – Iran’s old slogan scores highly. For decades, until President Hassan Rouhani’s recent efforts at rapprochment with the US, the catchline has promised its citizens a no-holds barred dedication to the “Great Satan’s” downfall (though as things stand, warring Republicans and Democrats in Congress look more likely to accomplish the mission than Iranian terrorists).

The fourth tip for a good slogan is “Stay honest”. Well, Iranian obfuscation over nuclear proliferation apart, there is a purity to the original line that even the Madison Avenue executives in its line of fire would appreciate.

Finally, its three words amply meet the “Keep it short” maxim that lies behind such great slogans as Apple’s “Think Different” or “Beanz Meanz Heinz”. “Death to America” is a catchline your own mother can easily remember.

What next, then? Iran has in the past paid back-handed tribute to branding gurus, with its 2011 (unrealised) threat to withdraw from the London Olympics because the much-derided logo allegedly hid the word “Zion”. It knows how the ad business works.

So it’s time for the creatives to put their heads together and brainstorm a new slogan that is upbeat, zeitgeisty, sexy, tweetable and yet in tune with the ideals of an Islamic republic that rejects all forms of intellectual and social tyranny and economic monopoly and entrusts the destinies of the people to the people themselves in order to break completely with the system of oppression.

Ideas, people?