How to create great advertising taglines.

advertising taglines

Sometimes called “slogans,” advertising taglines are created to communicate your product or service to your consumer, and do it in a way that builds brand awareness.

Advertising taglines also give you a central “theme” which you can wrap a campaign around. For instance, you’ll notice that most large companies typically center the idea – or “concept” – of the campaign around their taglines, and vice versa.

In the advertising business, one of the first things we do when we’re asked to come up with a new campaign is to start brainstorming taglines. We typically come up with three or four that we think will work (usually narrowed down from a list of anywhere from 10 to 100!), and then see how they develop into television, print, and other media.

Great advertising taglines are:

1. Simple – A tagline should communicate a single idea or benefit. One of the best ways to create a bad tagline is to stick a lot of unrelated words in it hoping you’ll hit the right combination at some point. Rule of thumb: write your tagline in everyday language. Write like you talk. It will make your product or service seem friendly and more approachable.

2. Memorable – Think of some of the best advertising taglines you ever heard. Here’s my list:

“Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s)
“Just do it.” (Nike)
“Think small.” (Volkswagen)
“We try harder.” (Avis)
“Think different.” (Apple)
“The ultimate driving machine.” (BMW)
“Have it your way.” (Burger King)
"M'm! M'm! Good!" (Campbell’s Soup)
“Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.” (Charmin Bath Tissue)
“Got milk?” (National Milk Producers)

It literally took me less than two minutes to come up with these, because they were sitting right there on the edge of my brain. These advertising taglines are so memorable that they’ve become part of the American landscape. At least for me.

The trick to coming up with memorable advertising taglines is to structure it so that it describes your company in a way that is eloquent, easy-to-read, and creative.

advertising taglines

3. Short – Typically, taglines should be from one to seven words. You may be thinking, “Wow, seven words…even I can write seven words!” but it isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. The shorter a phrase, the more of a challenge it is to write. If you go more than seven words, your tagline will be neither simple nor memorable. It’s as simple as that.

So where to start? Start by researching great taglines. You can find tons of then online. Also start noticing tv commercials and print ads – notice how the good ones wrap their overall concept around the tagline, and carry it through each medium.

If you come up with several taglines that you like, test them in what is called a “focus group.” Simply gather together 10 -12 of people who fit your target customer criteria and ask then which one they like best. It isn’t scientific, but it will give you a good idea of what will win at the cash register!

Once you find the perfect tagline, don’t get too attached to it. Typically, companies change their advertising campaigns every couple of years, and will often begin the process of coming up with advertising taglines all over again.

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