Writing Slogans

Nov 18, 2014 | Profit

“When it rains, it pours.”

Recognize that? Morton Salt has been using that slogan since 1913. It’s one of the Top Ten Advertising Slogans of 20th Century as selected by Advertising Age. Many of the slogans have been in use for decades. Here’s the full list.

1. “Diamonds are forever” – DeBeers
2. “Just do it” – Nike
3. “The pause that refreshes” – Coca-Cola
4. “Tastes great, less filling” – Miller Lite
5. “We try harder” – Avis
6. “Good to the last drop” – Maxwell House
7. “Breakfast of champions” – Wheaties
8. “Does she … or doesn’t she?” – Clairol
9. “When it rains, it pours” – Morton Salt
10. “Where’s the beef?” – Wendy’s

What can you learn from the top advertising slogans?

Not much, I’m afraid. You can have a top slogan if you also have a massive advertising budget. In fact some slogans, like Wendy’s, don’t make any sense unless you’ve seen the commercials where they appeared. So, let’s forget about learning from the great slogans, and think about what we want a slogan to do.

Your slogan should deliver your brand promise

Answer the question that Tom Hall used to ask every client of his successful advertising agency: “What do you want to be known for?” Whatever it is, your slogan should convey it to the people you want to buy from you.

Your slogan should be distinctive

Your slogan should help you stand out from the crowd. “Low prices” or “great service” probably aren’t going to make that happen. Neither will turning a popular slogan like “Got Milk?” into “Got” something else.

Your slogan should be memorable

Now we’re down to the actual writing part. Alliteration and rhyme are two techniques that help make slogans memorable. If you want to get into this more deeply, read Sam Horn’s book, POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything.

Your slogan should be forever

Once you have a slogan that works, stick with it. Use it a lot. You may not have a huge advertising budget, but you can use your slogan over and over and over, way past the time you’re sick of it, to help people remember it.