Archive for September, 2008

A few choice words: What makes a good slogan?

Judi Schindler

Having developed slogans and taglines for numerous clients over the years, I know first-hand how difficult a task it is to encapsulate a brand with just a few cogent words. It gives you an appreciation for the really good ones, which recognizes in a new list of the 10 top advertising slogans of all time.

Among them?

Apple – Think different
Wheaties – The breakfast of champions
Wendy’s – Where’s the beef?
M&Ms – Melts in your mouth not in your hands.
Miller Lite – Great taste. Less filling.
Nike – Just do it.
Maxwell House Coffee – Good to the last drop.
Clairol – Does she, or doesn’t she?
United – Fly the friendly skies.
Coca Cola – It’s the real thing.

They’re hard to argue with, although I would have preferred the Apple copywriters to think “grammatically.” I personally don’t relate to the notion that the last drop might taste different from the first – for any brand of coffee. And with the long-standing labor problems at United, it’s hard finding truth in the “friendly skies” tag.

On the whole, though, these all pass my personal criteria for a good slogan:

1. Is it memorable?
2. Does it ring true?
3. Is it distinguishing?
4. Does it speak to benefit?

Against that set of standards, here are a few on my own list of favorites.

Fed Ex – When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.

This worked for launching a brand new concept from a brand new company. The slogan both explains the service and makes it sound absolutely, positively credible.

Loreal – Because you’re worth it.
Volkswagen – Think small.
Smucker’s – With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.

All three are noteworthy for turning a negative into a positive. Loreal is expensive compared to competing products. The Volkswagen was introduced to the U.S. market when big, honking cruisers dominated the highways. And, with due respect to Mr. Smucker, he has a funny name. His agency wisely used that fact to advantage.

KFC – Finger lickin’ good.
Disneyland – The happiest place on earth.

Two more I like – simply because they are evocative. You can imagine yourself eating something so good, you want to savor the last taste off your finger tips. And what conjures better images than spending a day at the happiest place on the planet?

If you are interested in refreshing your memory or just want to look up old slogans, here is an online database with a very extensive collection. And please share your favorites – as comments – telling us why you like them!

September 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm 3 comments

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