The Elements of a Good Slogan

Slogans in Advertising (MillwardBrown)

Product SloganAs we discuss in our tutorial Managing the Advertising Campaign, one technique used to position products in the minds of customers, is to develop a distinctive product slogan.  A slogan is a consistent phrase or group of words marketers include within their promotional message.

By repeatedly exposing customers to a slogan, marketers hope to build product awareness and instill key product concepts.  For instance, for many consumers the “Just Do It” slogan is instantly associated with Nike and connotes the impression of being active.

When it comes to developing a slogan strategy marketers face several decisions.  One crucial decision is determining what promotional role the slogan will serve.  Some marketers view the role of a slogan in the same way they view the brand name with which it is associated.  For these marketers, a slogan is for the long-term and essentially becomes embedded in the brand.  This can be seen with the slogans of such brands as DeBeers (“A Diamond Is Forever”) and Wheaties (“The Breakfast of Champions”) which have seen little change for many decades.  For these brands, the longevity of the slogan suggests the slogan is tied to the product in the same way the brand name is tied to the product.

Other marketers see a slogan as a marketing decision that needs to be refreshed after some period of time.  A good example is McDonalds which has created many slogans in the last 40 years including “You Deserve a Break Today,” “It’s a Good Time For the Great Taste of McDonald’s,” “Did Somebody Say McDonald’s?,” and “I’m Lovin’ It.”  Often these changes coincide with a change in the overall advertising campaign.  In this way, the slogan is connected more to the advertising message and somewhat less to the brand name.

Since marketers use both long-term and short-term approaches to the role of a slogan, it begs the question: Is one approach better than the other?  This issue is discussed in this story where research across many countries suggests familiar long-term slogans may have an advantage over short-term slogans.  Not surprisingly this is leading many marketers to resurrect previously used slogans.  Additionally, the story points to several other elements of a slogan that may improve its overall effectiveness.

Slogans are most likely to be remembered when they are included in a jingle. There is also evidence to suggest that slogans that have been used before and that are repeated within ads are better remembered.

What product slogans would appear to be in need of a makeover?

Image by Chia-Ling

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