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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
FCUK spells trouble for owner
French connection store
French Connection enjoyed nine years of growth until 2004/5
French Connection's FCUK slogan is not the first successful marketing idea to have come back to haunt its creator.

The slogan has provoked regular controversy since its launch in 1997.

It made French Connection one of the most recognised and sought-after brand names on the High Street and helped it to nine years of continuous growth.

But times would appear to have changed and the retail chain said FCUK branding on its autumn and winter collections had been "significantly reduced".

Changing fashions

Although the firm insisted that the slogan has not been ditched, it said it would be used more sparingly and subtly.

"Fashions have changed. We have moved on," spokeswoman Lorna Perrin said.

French Connection has joined a long list of companies which, over the years, have called time on once highly successful marketing slogans.

It was one idea which was rather relentlessly executed
Rita Clifton, Interbrand

Mars courted controversy when it scrapped the once-heard, never-forgotten slogan 'A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play' while British Airways dropped the 'world's most favourite airline' tag in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, some slogans have somewhat backfired for firms.

For example 'British Rail: we're getting there' made it a favourite target for comedians and the public who pointed out it never did 'get there'.

Marketing experts said that the FCUK logo had been an advertising phenomenon but its relationship to French Connection's core business had become confused.

"It was one idea which was rather relentlessly executed," said Rita Clifton, chairman of global brand consultancy Interbrand.

"It became a bit tired and, as a result, the brand became a bit tired."

Missed opportunities

The decision to downgrade the FCUK slogan - which was regularly criticised by church groups and some politicians - follows a downturn in the company's fortunes.

It recently announced its first fall in sales in nine years and said that it had "missed opportunities" in its most recent clothing range.

The FCUK logo has become intimately associated with the French Connection brand but it has brought with it practical problems.

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The firm is currently required to have all its UK advertising vetted by the Advertising Standards Authority before screening after repeatedly breaching the advertising standards code with its use of the logo.

Some US department stores have also removed FCUK branded clothing following complaints from family groups.

Refreshing slogans

While FCUK's future may be under review, experts said that did not necessarily mean it should be totally discarded.

Equally ubiquitous, although less controversial slogans such as Audi's 'Vorsprung durch Technik' and Carlsberg's 'Probably the best lager in the world' had been successfully reinvented over the years, according to Interbrand's Rita Clifton.

"There have been many advertising slogans where companies have thought 'people are getting fed up with this' and tried something different," she says.

"Then they have gone back to the old slogan because they find it has remained in people minds."

Profits slip at French Connection
13 Sep 05 |  Business
Sales hit at French Connection
14 Sep 04 |  Business
Time called on FCUK posters
04 Apr 01 |  UK News

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