Tag(line), You’re It!

Posted on: February 23rd, 2014

McDonalds: I'm Lovin' It

I’m teaching a class in advertising design this semester. Students get practice brainstorming ad campaigns for products and services that I assign. One thing we discussed the other day were taglines. Sometimes referred to as slogans or mottos, tagline is a more current term. What is a tagline? It is the short line of text under the logo, usually at the bottom of the ad or at the end of a commercial. It serves as a temporary positioning statement for the company. A few examples might help illustrate:

Taglines seem to last about 3-5 years before a new overarching position statement is created for the company. Sometimes, though, the taglines don’t ring true to the public and are discarded sooner. One of my students shared this link with the class. It has some modified taglines that represent each business’s “true” position statement. Most of these are pretty humorous.

It is interesting to note the evolution of taglines for companies that have had a strong national presence for many years. Here are a few from Coca-Cola:

1906 - The Great National Temperance Beverage
1948
- Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality
1969
- It’s the Real Thing
1979
– Coke Adds Life
1985
– America’s Real Choice
1986
– Red, White & You
2001
– Life Tastes Good
2009
– Open Happiness

It takes a lot of work to summarize a company in a memorable way when you only have a handful of words. What makes a great tagline? Here are a few elements that I think are important:

If you’re interested in reading more taglines, here’s a web site with a few dozen. If you’ve got a favorite tagline, post it below.

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