Story Behind The Successful Slogans
Updated: May 6
The catchiest slogans don't just stick in your head; they can also change the way you think about the product being advertised. A good advertisement persuades you to buy the product or service being advertised.
This is the ultimate goal of marketers when they develop their advertising campaigns. The eight successful advertising campaigns below demonstrate how integral clever slogans are for a company's brand recognition.
Every year, major companies spend billions of dollars to find clever advertising campaigns to market their products.
Successful advertising campaigns manage to tie the products being sold to a catchy slogan.
The most successful advertising campaigns solidify a new catchphrase and become a point of cultural reference.
Notable advertising campaigns for Apple, McDonald's, De Beers, "Got Milk?", American Express, Nike, Kit Kat candy bars, and Volkswagen have all become part of popular culture.
Nike: "Just Do It"
Nike, Inc. (NKE) adopted this slogan in 1988 while the company was in the midst of financial difficulties. This simple saying is now inseparable from the brand's athletic gear. It could be said that "Just Do It" is a perfect saying for a company selling athletic clothing and merchandise because it inspires a feeling of boldness and encourages consumers to try harder. The success of this slogan is now regarded as a crucial part of Nike's success in the years since it was launched.
Volkswagen: "Think Small"
Volkswagen AG (VLKAF) has produced many clever advertising slogans and campaigns over the years, but perhaps their most highly regarded slogan is from 1959: "Think Small." This campaign was created by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) and was ranked as the best advertising campaign of the twentieth century by Advertising Age in a survey of North American advertisements.2
At the time, big cars with lots of luxury features were highly coveted by Americans, and Volkswagen was trying to sell their small Beetle model. For Americans obsessed with luxury cars and muscle cars, it was challenging to market the appeal of a small, durable car. Their understated advertisements included a small image of a car surrounded by a lot of white space and toted the practical features of the car.
McDonald's: "Have You Had Your Break Today?"
In 1995, McDonald's (MCD) asked consumers a simple question in their advertisements: "Have You Had Your Break Today?" This slogan was an evolution of their previous slogan: "You Deserve a Break Today."
The "You Deserve a Break Today" slogan made its debut in a 1971 television commercial. It ran in print and television ads throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The modified version of the slogan—"Have You Had Your Break Today?"—was recognized by Advertising Age in 1999 as the number one advertising jingle of the century.3 When McDonald's introduced its "Have You Had Your Break Today?" slogan in 1995, it was at least the company's 30th slogan in three decades.
De Beers: "A Diamond Is Forever"
De Beers launched this simple slogan in 1947 and it's still in use today, making it one of the longest-running advertising campaigns of all time. The slogan "A Diamond Is Forever" was written by Frances Gerety from the Philadelphia advertising agency NW Ayer.4 During the Great Depression, the sales of diamonds had gone down. De Beers's slogan changed most of America's relationship with diamonds. Before the slogan, it was not commonplace to propose with a diamond engagement ring.
Ian Fleming's fourth novel featuring the protagonist James Bond was published in 1956 with the title "Diamonds Are Forever," further solidifying De Beers's slogan into the cultural zeitgeist.5 (The book was eventually made into a movie in 1971.) To sell their pricey diamonds, De Beers continues to rely on simple black-and-white advertisements that convey a feeling of timelessness.
The Bottom Line
The ultimate goal of advertisers is to secure a place in the consumer psyche; every advertisement is an attempt to get consumers to take notice. The most successful advertising campaigns manage to tie the products being sold to a catchy slogan. Whether it's through a short-and-sweet phrase that logically fits with the product or an outlandish statement that makes consumers take a second look, this is never an easy task for advertisers.
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