Hyundai has announced the 24 national slogans that will appear on the team buses for Euro 2016. The slogans have been chosen by public vote, continuing a sponsorship campaign that Hyundai ran for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Back then, I reviewed and rated the slogans and there was a clear winner – Ivory Coast’s ‘Elephants Charging Towards Brazil!’. Dramatic, evocative and exciting, it raised the bar for slogans in general.
Let’s see how the European teams have responded this year.
Albania – O Sa Mirë Me Qenë Shqiptar!
Feels so good to be Albanian!
It’s hard to argue with this. It probably does feel good to be Albanian. It’s depressingly unlikely that England will ever have ‘Feels so good to be English!’ as a slogan. 9/10
Austria – Immer wieder, immer wieder, immer wieder Österreich!
Again and again, again and again, again and again Austria!
This may sound catchier in German – like a lot of these slogans, it’s probably something fans already chant on the terraces. It brings to mind ‘Ariston, and on, and on, and on….’ but without the clever wordplay. Try again, Austria. 3/10
Belgium – 1 Team – 1 Ambitie
1 Team – 1 Ambition
Straight from the Queen ‘One vision’ school of corporate rock sloganeering. This is basically the same as the England slogan (see below), but minus the rhyme. The use of numerals gives it the appearance of a score draw between Team and Ambition, but this is probably unintentional. 1/10
Croatia – Nova vatra, staro mjesto, ista nada
New fire, old place, same hope
Feels like this is straining to say something meaningful, but not quite getting there. Keep it light, Croatia. 4/10.
Czech Republic – Jeden tým = Jeden cíl!
One team = One Goal!
See Belgium, England, Portugal, Spain and Freddie Mercury. 1/10
England – One team, one dream
At least this one rhymes. But it’s the same boring formula as Belgium, the Czech Republic and others. ‘One’s team, one’s dream’ would have been more English. 2/10 (extra point for the rhyme)
France – Votre force, notre passion
Your strength, our passion
This is the wrong way round. From the supporter’s point of view, it makes sense to talk about your (the team’s) strength allied to our (the supporters’) passion. But put it on the team coach and you assume the team is talking, and it makes it sound like they’re all passion and no strength. This one also loses ‘passion points’ for using the word ‘passion’. 2/10
Germany – Wir meistern das!
We will make it!
It would be interesting to see an analysis of team performance related to the tense used in team slogans. The straightforward unconditional future tense here brims with confidence. But it’s still a dull slogan. 4/10
Hungary – Ria Ria Hungária!
As far as I can tell, the ‘Ria’ doesn’t translate into anything – it’s just a childlike way of turning ‘Hungaria’ into a chant. This is excellent and shows a good understanding of how slogans work. 9/10
Iceland – Áfram Ísland
Come on Iceland
It’s definitely the right message. Ideally you might hope for something a bit more … distinctive? Were there were there any more entries? No? OK, well…. 0/10
Italy – FORZA AZZURRI!
In some ways, no better than Iceland’s. But at least it comes with some heritage – the fans already use it, and it’s better than some vacuous corporate invention. It’s also the only slogan to use all caps – a power move when the team buses line up. 6/10
Northern Ireland – Dare to dream
A mind-numbing sentiment that could be taken from a thousand motivational speeches or inspirational Facebook posts. What’s so daring about dreaming anyway? It’s like saying ‘Be brave and have a nap! You can do it!’ 0/10
Poland – Łączy nas piłka
United by football
A good ‘tell’ for a nation’s neurosis is the thing it chooses to emphasise in its slogan. ‘United by football’ suggests Poland isn’t especially united in other respects, and feels the need to over-compensate. In the same way, England talks about dreaming because we know we play fundamentally unimaginative football. I predict dressing room discontent from the Poland squad. 3/10
Portugal – Um passado de glória. Um futuro de Vitória
A glorious past. A future of victory
Ticks a lot of rhetorical boxes. Neat two-part structure. Appears to rhyme and scan pleasingly in Portuguese. Just needs elephants. 8/10
Republic of Ireland – Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it
It’s weird that someone thought of this and went so far as to enter it into a competition. 0/10
Romania – O echipă, trei culori şi milioane de inimi care bat pentru România!
One team, three colours and millions of hearts beating for Romania!
It’s as though people believe slogans are an auditing system for counting random objects. One team, three colours, four corner flags, 22 shin pads…. 1/10
Russia – Один за всех и все за одного!
One for all and all for one!
This is already taken, Russia. Think of your own slogan. 1/10
Slovakia – Jeden národ, jedno srdce, jeden sen!
One nation, one heart, one dream!
All together now: One vision! 1/10
Spain – Un color, una pasión. Somos la Roja
One colour, one passion. We are ‘La Roja’
No, you are a Freddie Mercury tribute act. 1/10
Sweden – Tillsammans för Sverige
Together for Sweden
Sounds like a generic political slogan. What’s the point in public competitions like this if you don’t have some fun with it? Where are the elephants? 1/10
Switzerland – Hop Suisse! Hopp Schwiiz! Forza Svizzera!
Go Switzerland! Go Switzerland! Go Switzerland!
The three-language element is interesting. It somehow takes an energetic slogan and gives it the pedestrian pace of a Eurovision song contest judging round. 3/10
Turkey – Biz Bitti Demeden Bitmez
It’s not over until we say it’s over
This is strong. The nuances of the translation are important. If it means ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’ then it’s a bit weak and Lenny Kravitz. But ‘It’s not over until we say it’s over’ is Tony Soprano-level menacing. The alliteration probably makes it sound cool in Turkish as well. 9/10
Ukraine – Мрія народжує переможців!
Victory starts with a dream!
Defeat also starts with a dream. There’s too much of this ‘Believe it and it will happen!’ positive thinking wafting around the internet. You see it every day on Facebook, and it probably drives millions of people into depression. Someone should check in on Ukraine. 1/10
Wales – The dragons shall rise
This is the closest to ‘Elephants Charging Towards Brazil!’. It has dragons. If you have a national animal, you should use it in your slogan. But the ‘shall’ feels a bit Lord of the Rings – shifting it more towards an expression of desire rather than a bold prediction. (The slogan also appears to have upset the Welsh, who used ‘Together. Stronger.’ as a rallying cry during the qualifying stages and see no reason to change now.) 8/10
It’s been a bad year for the public. They have proved themselves shit at naming storms, and childish at naming boats. (On the plus side, at least none of these slogans are Coachy McCoachface – the least funny naming story of all time.)
Most of these slogans continue that poor run of form, ranging from the obvious (‘Forza Azzurri’) to the dully corporate (‘Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it’) And there’s that weird fixation with numbers.
To be fair, I have a sneaking suspicion the public may not have been fully engaged in this competition, and Hyundai no doubt filtered out more interesting options. But it’s a shame we can’t all have more fun with all this. It’s a chance to put a slogan on a bus! Let’s have less blandness and more elephants. (And let’s also acknowledge the professionals are sometimes better at this – see the BBC’s brilliant ‘Liberté. Egalité. Footé’.)
As for the winner, there are four contenders in Albania (‘Feels so good to be Albanian!’), Hungary (‘Ria, Ria, Hungaria!’), Turkey (‘It’s not over until we say it’s over’) and Wales (‘The dragons shall rise’).
My tournament prediction is a Hungary win, followed by a mass on-pitch brawl with Turkey.