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Are Taglines Important?

POINT: Paul Williams

Back in the days when there were three or four channels on TV and nearly every product had a jingle, taglines were the norm.

A smartly turned phrase paired with a simple, catchy jingle – we’d end up humming it aloud. Humming all the way to the checkout lane.

Nowadays, with so many product choices and so many media channels, it takes more than a tagline or jingle to be a memorable brand.

Taglines can serve as helpful internal tools. The product and marketing teams can ask themselves… is our cereal still “Kid tested and mother approved?” Are we truly “bringing good things to life?”

  • They’re Grrrrrrreat!
  • Snap Crackle Pop!
  • Hey Mickey! He Likes It.
  • It’s not nice to fool mother nature.
  • Don’t squeeze the Charmin.
  • How ‘bout a nice Hawaiian Punch?
  • When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best.
  • Time To Make The Donuts.
  • Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz…
  • It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore.
  • Mmm Mmm Good!
  • How do you spell relief.
  • With A Name Like Smuckers, It Has To Be Good.
  • Pork, The Other White Meat.
  • Where’s the beef?

Funny, most of the taglines I recall are from watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. There are only a few contemporary taglines that come to mind.

Apple’s “Think Different.” Party because I’m a fan of the brand, and because they’ve stuck with that phrase for years.

McDonald’s has been using “I’m Lovin’ It” for a while. I’m not sure it would have stuck in my mind except, when traveling and seeing the McDonald’s in Italy Spain, the slogan is: “Te Gustan!”

I recall how unfortunate that Toyota’s slogan was “Moving Forward” when they were facing recalls for cars that would move forward uncontrollably.

How many can you think of? Are they recent, or from when you were younger as well? Do brands with slogans you recall get more of your business?

You can find a great collection of taglines on Tagline Guru’s website.

COUNTERPOINT: John Moore

Think quick. What tagline does Starbucks use? How about the tagline for Whole Foods Market? Chipotle? Nordstrom? In-N-Out Burger? Costco? Trader Joe’s? Lululemon? ZARA? Williams-Sonoma? Big Lots?

Notice a theme? These retail brands don’t have one because they don’t need one.

To Paul’s point, taglines seem ancient in today’s world. It seems retail brands and packaged goods brands are doing a better job of differentiating themselves so taglines have, in many ways, become unnecessary.

However, many retail brands do little to differentiate themselves in how they do business. For those brands, a tagline can help bring forth some differentiation and a veil of uniqueness. Which brings me to a marketing rule of thumb:

The more undifferentiated a brand is, THE MORE it needs a tagline.

The more distinctive a brand is, THE LESS it needs a tagline.

Crackerjack Marketer

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