According to Wikepedia a slogan (motto, catch phrase etc) is a memorable phrase used as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. In a commercial sense of the word, that expression is the simplest, most direct way of of conveying your business' mission statement to its target demographic.
What makes a successful slogan. A successful slogan needs to be simple, easily remembered and have a clear message. When brainstorming a slogan avoid long sentences and big words. “We make your dreams come true” is far more effective than “We endeavour to actualise your aspirations”. It also needs to be relevant to the majority of your intended audience. Not the high end, not the low end, but the majority – so think "lowest common denominator".
For example “Ted's Tuition – We help children graduate” targets only those parents with the immediate prospects of exams on their minds, potentially bypassing all those parents who just want their kids to learn quicker/better/more. The phrase itself is rather lame and forgettable. By using a more general and simpler slogan: “Ted's Tuition - We help children get smarter, quicker" a much wideer audience is targeted and a point of difference is introduced. All people need to remember is two words: "smarter" and "quicker".
Use emotion NOT logic. A slogan needs to evoke some emotion (preferably positive) in those who see/read it. Don’t try to explain the function of your products or services, rather think how to project their “emotive” value with words. Yes, Red Bull is a carbonated drink with sugar and colouring etc, but the slogan conveys a simple message - Red Bull Gives You Wings.
Learn from the tried and proven. There are numerous lists and ranking for corporate slogans on the web. When compiling the list below I was guided by three very simple rules. 1. How short and to the point is the slogan. 2. How well it explains the company's mission statement. 3. How strong is the emotional projection of that statement.
So here they are, in reverse order, the 10 Best Advertising Slogans of All Times.
10. LG – Life’s Good. Clever and simple. It helps people remember an otherwise boring acronym by attaching a very aspirational emotional value to it. (LG actually stands for Lucky Goldstar – no wonder why they chose to use the slogan instead) but seriously - who wouldn’t want their LIFE to be GOOD?
9. AVIS – We Try Harder. This was used in conjunction with a clever advertising campaign aimed at Hertz who boasted about being No.1 in car rentals. AVIS’ angle was simple – the runners up try harder. Today, hardly anyone remembers Hertz’s We’re No.1 campaign, but the “We try harder” slogan has effectively been associated with the AVIS brand ever since.
8. M&Ms– Melts in your mouth not in your hand. Again a clever, if wordy, attempt to explain the acronym, while putting forward a point of difference. M&Ms have stuck with this phrase for over 40 years! After such a long time I wouldn’t be surprised if people actually believed it. I know I did... Until I’ve tested the claim....
7. VW – Think Small. This was VW’s slogan for their push into the US market back in the late 50s. A new take on a well known phrase, was considered risky at the time. It has paid off for VW because it celebrated what other thought of as a shortcoming – that is the smallness of VW cars (when compared to the US cars). Honourable mention here: Apple – Think Different. Another take on the same phrase, used successfully to give Apple a point of difference against the onslaught of PC clones.
6. Pepsi – Taste of the new Generation. This was actually a re-make of Pepsi’s previous slogan “The Pepsi Generation”, updated for a new decade. It clearly identified their target audience and pitched to them the idea that if they’re young and cool, they should drink Pepsi, not the other carbonated cola drink, whatever it may or may not be...
5. Honda – The Power of Dreams. Again very emotive and very targeted. Immediately it addresses people who want to see “quality” in their cars. This slogan, coupled with Honda’s achievements in F1 worked very nicely indeed. So much so, that until Lexus came along a vast majority of Americans when surveyed placed Honda above all other Japanese brands.
4. McDonalds – I’m loving it. Okay, the promise/delivery aspect of a slogan is another matter altogether, but this slogan has been Macca’s biggest weapon in fighting a massive consumer backlash against its brand. Note the use of the first person “I” which almost puts the words in the readers’ mouths (along with burgers fries and coke...), the kings of upsell stood bravely by their brand with their ads quietly whispering into the ears of guilt-ridden customers: “I’m loving it, I’m loving it”... Very, very effective.
3. L’oreal – Because You’re Worth It. Admit it, you’ve heard it, even if you’re a man! For a phrase to cross the corporate-to-social border, it needs to be bloody good. And this one is. You know your slogan has nailed it if you can see it being parodied on sitcoms and in stand-up routines. This slogan is as daring as it is clever. Firstly, with four simple words it answers every potential buyer’s question: Why Should I buy it? Secondly, it doesn’t answer it by elevating the product to a higher status – no, it elevates the BUYER to the status of the product. You should be offended, but you’re not... Because you ARE worth it. Clever.
2. Coke is it – It almost doesn’t get any better than this. Almost. Admittedly, Coke’s focus of late has been moving about in the face of a changing market place but for over two decades this was the most effective product slogan out there. It simply says there’s nothing else worth drinking. Coke is It. Straight forward and to the point, arrogant almost. The newer slogans that followed (Enjoy in 2000, Make it Real in '05 and Open Happiness in '09) didn’t have quite the same effect.
1. Nike – Just Do It. Okay, Coke might have had the simplicity and used only two words but Nike takes the number one spot for not only coming up with an emotionally charged phrase but also one that somehow alludes to their product – and all that in just three words! Brilliant. Sure, you might question their manufacturing methods and the value-for-money aspect of their gear, but if you want to feel “hardcore” when you go for a jog, you want a brand that will tell you “Just Do It”. This slogan is so clever and well executed that it has already left a lasting imprint on the social fabric despite being first used only 22 years ago (1988 was the first airing of the Just Do It commercials).