A Dang Good Rallying Cry

by Holland-Mark | July 28, 2014

Last week while my husband and I puttered around Puerto Rico, we happened upon a local smoothie shop in a remote part of Rincon called Banana Dang! As if the name wasn’t awesome enough, the logo is a smiling banana. But more importantly, in this small surfer town, it’s a rallying cry. An excited, affirmative answer for the sea-soaked and sunburned and water-weary. Want a delicious mango and acai berry smoothie? Homemade banana bread? Strong Puerto Rican coffee? BANANA DANG, I do!

Finding a rallying cry may not be as easy as it was for Banana Dang! co-owner Than Than Dang, who was born with part of it. And the idea of the store was born in 2007, the Year of the Monkey — and those guys just happen to love the main ingredient of every smoothie made here: bananas.

A rallying cry doesn’t have to be a proper name. Actually it almost never is. But it needs to make people do something. Since 1985, people have been shouting, “Don’t mess with Texas!” This mantra from the Texas Department of Transportation reduced litter on Texas roadways by 72% in its first four years.

Sometimes it’s about getting people excited, like the U.S. World Cup team that had fans across the country cheering, “I believe that we will win!” about its unlikely advancement in the tournament. Or the Last Comic Standing contestant who earned rave reviews for demanding the audience to “Tell it to my balls!”

Often it carries more gravitas. Today’s rallying cries are all the more potent because of social media. Dan Savage’s 2010 YouTube video to LGBT youth started the message “It gets better,” which inspired 50,000 user-created videos viewed 50 million times. In April of this year, when 276 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by the radical group Boko Haram, #bringbackourgirls sounded across the globe. Or just this week, when the final words of Eric Garner who died in a chokehold by NYPD captured on cellphone video, were used at his vigil: It ends today.

In our industry, a rallying cry can cost big bucks. Colin Baden, CEO of Oakley sunglasses, whose company spent over $11 million in advertising last year, chose San Fran’s Eleven as its Agency of Record and tasked them to come up with its own version of Nike’s Just Do It for Oakley’s 2015 brand campaign.

I’m still working on my own rallying cry. (As a writer, I really wish I had thought of Weird Al’s Word Crimes.) Timing is everything, though. You need just the right cry at just the right moment for it to stick. I’m waiting for my moment.


P.S. I found out yesterday that Banana Dang! will no longer be in Puerto Rico after this month. How hard am I kicking myself that I didn’t buy the “Dang it! Puerto Rico” bumper sticker now? All is not lost though. Banana Dang! is moving to San Diego. Maybe that’s where I’ll find my rallying cry.