The change is incredibly subtle, but it got me thinking about what happens when a brand decides to alter such a familiar and intrinsic part of its own identity.
Similarly, what makes the most enduring slogans so successful? Let’s start with a few basics.
What is the aim of a slogan?
If a logo is the visual representation of a brand, a slogan or tagline is what truly brings it to life.
In short, it is a key phrase or set of words that communicates the essence of a brand, and one that is designed to stick in the minds of consumers.
Key features of a winning slogan
It is succinct
The most enduring brand slogans are often short, catchy and easy to remember. Much like a song chorus that gets stuck in your head, it needs to have a rhythm or sound that rolls off the tongue and is instantly recognisable.
When a slogan is put to music or used as part of a jingle, this is often when it really resonates. “I’d rather have a bowl of Coco Pops,” is a fine example.
It provides incentive
Effective slogans also highlight what’s beneficial about a product or service, prompting consumers to buy into the brand.
Furthermore, it’s vital that it evokes or instils a positive feeling or incentive. For instance, something like “It’s good to talk” from BT (British Telecom) – while outdated in today’s context – brings to life the simple pleasure and emotional undertones of picking up the telephone to call a loved one.
Lastly, a slogan is often a good opportunity for a brand to tell consumers why it is different or unique.
Marks & Spencer’s most famous tagline is from its “Not just any food” campaign, which paid homage to the brand’s reputation for high quality.
The fact that people continue to associate the phrase with the brand, even since it has stopped using it, shows how long a well-crafted slogan can endure.
Eight examples of effective slogans
Here are a few of my favourites, along with what I think makes them so effective.
L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it
A slogan that’s been in use since the 1970s, L’Oreal celebrates (and justifies) the very concept of buying make-up.
While it has been tweaked in recent years along with the brand’s efforts to become more inclusive – changing to ‘we’re worth it’ – it remains one of the most well-known phrases in the beauty industry.
Subway: Eat fresh
It’s been suggested that three words is the magic formula for an effective slogan. Think “I’m lovin’ it” or “Finger lickin’ good”. However, Subway manages to convey its core message in just two.
Sure, it might sound a bit crass, but its confident and straight-to-the-point message tells consumers all they need to know about its freshly made sandwiches.
HSBC: The world’s local bank
Proving that brands don’t need to follow the rules, this oxymoron from HSBC has one main aim and that is to instil trust.
Reassuring customers that, despite being a global corporation, it has the values of a local bank – it’s a clever play on words.
Nike: Just do it
Nike’s slogan is built on the notion that anyone can achieve greatness. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, the simple call to ‘just do it’ is both uplifting and inspiring – two hallmarks of Nike’s wider brand values.
— Nike (@Nike) January 11, 2017
Dollar Shave Club: Shave time. Shave Money
Puns are tricky to pull off, especially when they’re silly or childish as opposed to clever. For some reason, however, I think this example works simply because it’s so unapologetic.
It fits in well with Dollar Shave Club’s witty and self-deprecating style of advertising, perfectly summing up the brand’s money saving appeal.
Tesco: Every little helps
Re-affirming its stance on value and customer service, Tesco’s slogan is subtle. It’s not just about money of course, but everything that Tesco offers (from its insurance to its Metro stores) that helps customers.
It’s also an incredibly comforting turn of phrase, which reassures consumers that it is a supermarket that cares.
Mr Kipling: Exceedingly good cakes
Encapsulating the character of Mr Kipling, this simple but self-explanatory phrase manages to elevate a simple fairy cake into something extra special. A bit like the aforementioned M&S example, it’s quite boastful, but charmingly so.
With Mr Kipling reintroducing the slogan in a bit to boost sales, it proves that familiarity and nostalgia can often contribute to why certain slogans work.
Ronseal: It does exactly what it says on the tin
Finally, Ronseal is a great example of a slogan that goes beyond a brand to enter into our everyday vernacular.
While the no-nonsense statement first aimed to reassure customers that DIY doesn’t have to be complicated, it now stands for transparency in all senses, and the reassurance that there is no hidden agenda or underlying meaning.