Marketing taglines are not easy to write. Most people think that writing less is easier than writing more – so wrong! Taglines are a painful example of that. How do you express a complex company image and commitment to quality in three words? Exactly! It’s not easy.
Despite the difficulty, some companies have managed to successfully create taglines that are not only clever, but memorable. They have been so good at expressing what they do that companies are known by them.
In business, a tagline is “a catchphrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company,” according to Entrepreneur.com’s small business encyclopedia.
In many ways, they’re like mini mission statements.
Companies have taglines for the same reason they have logos: advertising. While logos are visual representations of a brand, taglines are audible representations of a brand. Both formats grab consumers’ attention more readily than the name a company or product might. Plus, they’re simpler to understand and remember.
The goal? To leave a key brand message in consumers’ minds so that, if they remember nothing else from an advertisement, they’ll remember the tagline.
Make It Memorable
Remember that you may only have a few moments to get your customer’s attention. A great tagline will stay with someone even if they only hear it once. Domino’s Pizza’s original “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed” is a classic example of this principle.
Inject a Little Personality
The best taglines capture the “personality” of the business. Apple did this with their tagline ”Think Different.” The tagline perfectly embodied the idea that Apple is unique and so are their customers. Apple has successfully branded itself as the computer for creative professionals, and it’s this slightly elite image that allows them to charge higher prices than their competitors to this day.
The goal of a tagline is the express and be memorable. W well written, witty and clever tagline can go viral – and last forever.
This all depends on what you need them for. If you are a graphic designer that already does logos, you are better off working with a freelance writer.
To truly get what you want out of either arrangement, come to the agency or writer with a list of your own brainstormed slogan ideas, all of the brochures and websites about your product that you can gather and an open mind for what they can create.
They will likely come up with something completely different, but this will give them an excellent starting point.
An advertising agency will generally be very experienced in slogan writing as they deal with brand management on a day-to-day basis.
Agencies do not come cheap, but are well worth the investment in terms of the quality provided for the dollar. Given the cost, mid-sized to large companies will want to consider agencies.
If you have a larger budget, an agency will often be able to arrange market research testing for your slogan and logo that is also well worth the investment.
Some freelance writers specialize in slogan writing, but really any freelance writer can manage this task.
You’ll want to look for writers who have experience writing sales letters and promotional copy, as they are more likely to produce the results that you are looking for.
While the experience level may not be the same as a top-level agency, the bill and the more personalized service that you will receive may be more of what you are looking for if you run a smaller business.
This depends. Often sales managers and staff work so closely with the product that they have a hard time looking at it with a fresh eye.
There are also interpersonal factors to consider; if you love the job your sales manager is doing but hate their slogan, you may find yourself in a difficult position.
If you have a marketing writer on staff, they will usually be able to produce good slogans for you. A sales person or manager has a very specific skill set that generally doesn’t extend to creative.
Getting your tagline from the right source is a large part of the battle for a good tagline. Hiring a marketing company to create a set of options can save you money, time and frustration.
Take a look at 15 companies that created taglines that really were a stroke of genius:
“The Happiest Place on Earth” – Disneyland
Disneyland’s unforgettable slogan is a direct quote from Walt Disney himself right at the inception of the Disneyland Idea. His goal was to create ‘the happiest place on earth’.
This tagline succinctly describes the goal, the experience and the memories produced the company so has stood the test of time, and even though any company adopting it today would struggle with the ‘out dated’ sentiment, it continues to work for Disney.
“Finger Lickin’ Good” – KFC
The catchphrase originated by accident in the 1950s when franchisee David Harman was shown eating chicken and licking his fingers in the background of an American TV commercial.
A viewer phoned up to complain about the incident and spoke to manager Ken Harbough, who replied: ‘Well it’s finger lickin’ good.’
The phrase then became the KFC slogan and took off, making it one of the most recognised in the world. Recently it has been replaced by ‘So Good’, but this has yet to hold the same power due to it’s generic nature. It was introduced to project a healthier image for KFC
“Connecting People” – Nokia
Nokia says about its famous tagline:
‘At Nokia, “Connecting People” is more than a tagline. It’s a mission statement that has guided almost everything we’ve done for over 20 years.
Much has changed in that time. The number of people with access to a mobile device has grown from 0.4 per-cent of the population to the present day, when over a billion people connect every day with a Nokia.
What’s more, the definition of what it means to be “connected” has changed. The impact of the Internet has been just as profound as that of the mobile phone on our daily lives, but even today, only 35 per-cent of the world’s population has access – far less than the proportion that has access to a mobile device. So, with devices like the Nokia 109, Nokia 110 and Nokia 112, we’re bringing the mobile Internet to the next billion and beyond. ‘
Kudos to the company that came up with that tagline – it does exactly what it says on the box.
“Hello Moto” – Motorola
When you read that, lets face it, this is what you heard:
Completely crass, irritatingly addictive and pure genius. Who cares where it came from – it works!
“Keeps going and going and going” – Energizer batteries
Love him or hate him, the Energizer Bunny is as much a part of this slogan as the tagline itself. You just can’t separate the two. This tagline/scary childtoy of nightmares has been successful for over 20 years. In that time he has worn flip flops, met aliens, been a hot air balloon and was officially recognized in the Oxford English dictionary. How many taglines can boast that?
To learn more about the tagline and it’s more famous bunny brother, look here.
“Life’s Good” – LG
LG actually stands for the ‘Lucky Goldstar’ company, a Korean corporation that makes everything from electronics to laundry powder, and manages everything from consulting firms and telemarketing, to Coca Colas bottling plant in Korea. For them the slogan “Life’s Good” was a very clever play on use of their company name and their company ethos.
This tagline was adopted in 2009 and shows no sign of retirement being revamped in 2014 – slightly. The only sad thing is that the tagline only translates in the English speaking world, but interestingly, is appreciated and recognized all over the globe.
“Live Unboring” – IKEA
IKEA created a tagline that was like the LG tagline – only really making sense in English. The Swedish Alphabet was used so that the ‘o’ in ‘unboring’ had the double dot ever it, making sure that the sentiment and the Swedish company it referred to were noted.
Clever, but bordering on maybe too clever. It hasn’t lasted long.
“Once you pop, You can’t stop” – Pringles
Pringles is advertised in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland with the slogan “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop” along with the original slogan “Once you pop, you can’t stop” which was the tagline created in 1968. Catchy, descriptive but unexciting by todays witty standards it still works for Proctor and Gamble the producers, but you can’t help feeling it may just be due for a revamp.
“Let your fingers do the walking” – Yellow Pages
After nearly 40 years of a successful and inviting campaign, the Yellow Pages fingers walked off the job.
The trade association for telephone directory publishers replaced the “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” logo 1999 and advertising campaign with a light- bulb logo and the slogan, “Get an Idea.”
The change was designed to change the image of the Yellow Pages from a listing of telephone numbers to a consumer resource book, said Jim Logan, president and chief executive officer of the Yellow Pages Publishers Assn.
The problem is – 16 years later ‘let your fingers do the walking’ is more memorable and expressive than ‘Get an idea’. Great taglines stick.
‘I’m Lovin’ it” – McDonalds
The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign was launched way back in 2003 and still stands strong today. This is a great example of a slogan that resonates with the brand’s target audience. McDonald’s food might be poor for your health, but being healthy isn’t the benefit McDonald’s is promising — it’s that you’ll love the taste. They’re appealing to people who like salty, flavorful food, and its slogan makes that clear from the get-go.
“Just Do it” – Nike
It didn’t take long for Nike’s message to resonate. The brand became more than just athletic apparel — it began to embody a state of mind. It encourages you to think that you don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape or tackle an obstacle. If you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes.
But it’s unlikely Kennedy + Weiden, the agency behind this tagline, knew from the start that Nike would brand itself in this way. In fact, Nike’s product used to cater almost exclusively to marathon runners, which are among the most hardcore athletes out there. The “Just Do It” campaign widened the funnel, and it’s proof positive that some brands need to take their time coming up with a slogan that reflects their message and resonates with their target audience.
“Have it your way” – Burger King
Have it your way? Not any more at Burger King.
The burger chain is rolling out a new tag line. Customers are instruct it to “Be Your Way,” as opposed to the long time motto, “Have It Your Way.”
The company has not actively been using the “Have It Your Way” slogan for some time in the U.S. Instead, Burger King has been using the “Taste Is King” motto, though it never gained the traction of its predecessor.
The new motto is designed to remind customers “they can and should live how they want anytime. It’s ok to not be perfect,” the company said in a press release. “Self-expression is most important and it’s our differences that make us individuals instead of robots.”
Whatever the justification, Burger King seems to be having a little tagline identity crisis. They forgot the golden rule – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“It’s the real thing” – Coke
Coke has had many different taglines, in fact a new one every three years or so, but the one that people most remember is ‘It’s the real thing’, and many people can sing the advert, ‘I’d Like to buy the world a Coke..’ even today, but there are others that were highly successful .
Pick out the ones you remember from the list below:
1886 – Drink Coca-Cola
1904 – Delicious and Refreshing
1905 – Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains
1906 – The Great National Temperance Beverage
1917 – Three Million a Day
1922 – Thirst Knows No Season
1923 – Enjoy Thirst
1924 – Refresh Yourself
1925 – Six Million a Day
1926 – It Had to Be Good to Get Where It Is
1927 – Pure as Sunlight
1927 – Around the Corner from Everywhere
1929 – The Pause that Refreshes
1932 – Ice Cold Sunshine
1938 – The Best Friend Thirst Ever Had
1939 – Thirst Asks Nothing More
1939 – Whoever You Are, Whatever You Do, Wherever You May Be, When You Think of Refreshment Think of Ice Cold Coca-Cola
1942 – The Only Thing Like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola Itself
1948 – Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality
1949 – Along the Highway to Anywhere
1952 – What You Want is a Coke
1956 – Coca-Cola… Makes Good Things Taste Better
1957 – Sign of Good Taste
1958 – The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke
1959 – Be Really Refreshed
1963 – Things Go Better with Coke
1969 – It’s the Real Thing
1971 – I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke (part of the “It’s the Real Thing” campaign)
1975 – Look Up America
1976 – Coke Adds Life
1979 – Have a Coke and a Smile
1982 – Coke Is It!
1985 – We’ve Got a Taste for You (for both Coca-Cola & Coca-Cola classic)
1985 – America’s Real Choice (for both Coca-Cola & Coca-Cola classic)
1986 – Red, White & You (for Coca-Cola classic)
1986 – Catch the Wave (for Coca-Cola)
1987 – When Coca-Cola is a Part of Your Life, You Can’t Beat the Feeling
1988 – You Can’t Beat the Feeling
1989 – Official Soft Drink of Summer
1990 – You Can’t Beat the Real Thing
1993 – Always Coca-Cola
2000 – Coca-Cola. Enjoy
2001 – Life Tastes Good
2003 – Coca-Cola… Real
2005 – Make It Real
2006 – The Coke Side of Life
2009 – Open Happiness
“Think different” – Apple
This slogan was first released in the Apple’s commercial, called “Here’s to the Crazy Ones, Think Different” — a tribute to all the time-honored visionaries who challenged the status quo and changed the world. The phrase itself is a bold nod to IBM’s campaign “Think IBM,” which was used at the time to advertise its ThinkPad.
Soon after, the slogan “Think Different” accompanied Apple advertisements all over the place, even though Apple hadn’t released any significant new products at the time. All of a sudden, people began to realize that Apple wasn’t just any old computer; it was so powerful and so simple to use that it made the average computer user feel innovative and tech-savvy.
According to Forbes, Apple’s stock price tripled within a year of the commercial’s release. Although the slogan has been retired since, many Apple users still feel a sense of entitlement for being among those who “think different.”
“Because you’re worth it” – L’Oreal
Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re “worth it”? The folks at L’Oréal know that women wear makeup in order to make themselves appear “beautiful” so they feel desirable, wanted, and worth it. The tagline isn’t about the product — it’s about the image the product can get you. This message allowed L’Oréal to push its brand further than just utility so as to give the entire concept of makeup a much more powerful message.
And one last one not strictly a company…
“The Few. The Proud. The Marines” – US Marine Corp
The U.S. Marine Corps has had a handful of top-notch recruiting slogans over the decades, from “First to fight” starting in World War I to “We’re looking for a few good men” from the 1980s. However, we’d argue that “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” is among the best organization slogans out there.
This slogan “underscores the high caliber of those who join and serve their country as Marines,”said Maj. Gen. Richard T. Tryon, former commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command. In 2007, it even earned a spot in Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.
Taglines and slogans come in many forms, but one thing remains consistent – you have to have one. Buy, make, borrow or steal (Ok, maybe not steal, that’ll get you into trouble) but make sure you have one. Your company marketing depends on it.