Both presumptive presidential nominees from the two major US political parties recently unveiled SLOGANS for the upcoming election. Both announcements received a lot of publicity and endless commentary. Hundreds of thousands of words were written over just four. (And that’s putting both slogans together!)
President Obama’s slogan for his reelection effort is “Forward” while Republican Mitt Romney has chosen “Believe in America.” Taking all the politics out of it (there are people representing both sides at Slogan Slingers) let’s examine how the slogan creator for each camp did creating their marketing slogans. Here’s our dissection as if these lines were company slogans, advertising slogans, or taglines for any typical business.
Obama’s Battle Cry: Forward
Forward, as history buffs probably realize, is actually an old battle cry. When soldiers advanced to meet the enemy, the word used to direct them was “forward.” In fact, “forward” has been used by political groups from all over the world over many in different eras. That’s because it has been proven effective. Who doesn’t want to make progress? It’s uplifting but still vague enough that it can mean different things to a lot of people. It’s also action oriented.
On the downside, it’s almost too ambiguous for an incumbent. In an election where many voters are looking for specifics, this slogan might not say enough. Political pundits from both sides will tell you that Obama’s 2008 slogan “Hope” was one of the most effective in presidential history. It resonated with people who were looking to be inspired. Many feel that this election cycle has a different dynamic though. Obviously the Obama camp is hoping to repeat the magic of “Hope” with another one-word slogan. We’re not sure they’re achieving it.
“Forward” is meant to serve as a rallying cry. The Obama campaign is saying we’ve moved things forward and we need to continue making progress. It’s probably also meant as a warning that a vote for Romney is a vote to return “backwards” to the Bush era, which (right or wrong) many voters credit as the start of our economic troubles. The danger is that some voters might see this as a message that Obama doesn’t want to run on his record over the last four years. He wants voters just to look forward. (Again, we’re not saying his record is good or bad, we’re just looking at how the slogan could be interpreted.)
All in all though, clearly the Obama team knew what they were doing when they made words like “Hope” and “Change” the talk of 2008. “Forward” is memorable and snappy. We’ll see how the American voter adopt it going “forward” into election season.
Romney’s Message of Inspiration: Believe In America
Much like “Forward”, “Believing” is nothing amazingly groundbreaking as a concept. Nearly every year in sports, an underdog team makes an improbable run backed by fans holding signs that say, “Believe” or “We Believe.” It’s been used and it’s been successful.
Romney does win points for context though. Obviously, the slogan suggests that people have stopped believing in America. And that, if you vote for Romney, you’re showing that you support a country that is still capable of great things.
It’s patriotic, inspirational and like “Forward” is a call to action.
Romney has been knocked for his lack of charisma. It will be interesting to see how that plays into the public’s adoption or lack of adoption of the catchphrase. Will an emotional slogan crafted by a slogan creator other than Romney match up with the man? Or will having a slogan that might over-promise the passion Romney can actually deliver come back to haunt him?
If nothing else, it puts Romney far ahead of the previous Republican nominee, John McCain, who never could muster a slogan that caught on with voters. They didn’t get inspired and he lost. “Believe in America” has a real chance of making voters believe in Romney.
So if you judge the race purely on the slogan-meter, we’re looking at a tight race! One thing there’s no debating: It is obvious that both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney understand the power and importance of slogans. They know that a really good slogan can help your cause and win votes. They also understand that a really bad slogan can drive people away.
Business Owners Be Careful
Much like presidential slogans, business slogans and advertising slogans can and do influence people and steer their decisions. You need to make sure you get a slogan that works. The big difference is that presidential candidates need to have the widest appeal possible, which is why they often have more ambiguous slogans.
With many businesses, success often comes by appealing to a more specific target audience, not anyone with a voting card and a pulse. It’s okay if not everyone likes your tagline. Just make sure it resonates with your key audiences.
Most importantly, if you need a business slogan, advertising slogans, or company tagline, why not elect the slogan creator services at Slogan Slingers? We can’t promise to lower your taxes or change foreign policy but we can provide you with great writers who will compete to create your game-changing slogan today. Fill out a contest brief for free here.