How do you announce the return of an iconic brand that vanished from shelves because of corporate mismanagement? That’s the challenge facing slogan makers for Hostess Brands as the company prepares to bring back the ever popular Twinkies and other sugary snacks.
The legendary snack foods nearly became extinct because of a nasty labor struggle last year. Hostess’s new owners are trying to prepare the public for the return of some of its favorite treats with a host of new taglines. The revamped marketing slogans are colorful but can they really sell CupCakes and Twinkies again?
The marketing slogans include: “The clock is ticking. And when it reads septuplet zeros, the greatest treats the world has ever known will triumphantly return.” “Twinkies, CupCakes and other American snack icons that the people decided they just couldn’t live without.”
One-Shot Slogans for Special Events
Hostess’s latest batch of catchy slogans is an interesting use of taglines that many business owners don’t think about: the use of a tagline to generate hype to promote a special event. The special event in this case being the re-launch of the Hostess brands and the return to store shelves of the junk food.
The idea here is to make an everyday event the launch of some new snack foods into something special. The slogans are designed to add to the excitement around it and generate anticipation.
These are one-shot slogans because they will only be used once for the Twinkies comeback then abandoned. Unlike some catchphrases they are designed to last or create a permanent image. Instead they are designed to drum up a little quick publicity and help consumers notice that the products have returned.
How to Use One-Shot Slogans
If one-shot slogans work for Twinkies they can work for your business or product as well. The Hostess taglines have achieved their purpose some of them have been repeated in news articles which makes the re launch seem like an important event.
Next time you have a special event or a change at your organization why not create a one-shot slogan to promote it? Today’s slogan writing contests enable almost anybody to create a catchphrase quickly for a small amount of money.
If you’re planning an event such as the opening of a new location, the launch of a new product or your company’s anniversary sale why not promote it with a tagline specially commissioned for the occasion. The phrase can make the event seem more special and hopefully generate a little extra publicity.
The phrase can also help the public forget about negative or unpopular news about your products or company. Hostess is trying to help the public forget about its labor troubles and bankruptcy with the new taglines. It’s also hoping that the hype will lead to news coverage and increased sales.
If you want to create a special event for your organization try a slogan-writing contest. Whether it’s your group’s bake sale or a move to a new location you can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary with a really good slogan.
Slogans can help sell products, but can be used for other purposes as well.
The first question a slogan maker needs to ask is what is the purpose of this tagline? The writer needs to know what objective that the entrepreneur is attempting to achieve with the phrase.
The purpose of marketing slogans is to sell products or services. An example of such a tagline is “we have the best prices in town.” Yet not all catchphrases are designed for marketing purposes.
Slogans and Philosophy
Another popular class of slogan sets forth an organization’s philosophy or code of ethics. A classic example of this is Google’s “Don’t do evil” catchphrase which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ethical behavior.
Such slogans actually serve a dual purpose to publicize the organization’s philosophy and to set it apart from competitors. Therefore there is a marketing dimension to these taglines but it is secondary to the ethical or the philosophical statement.
Something to watch for when you write marketing slogans is to make sure that they do not contradict the organization’s philosophy or code of ethics. A business that is seen to be saying two different things at the same time will be seen as hypocritical and deceitful.
How to Start Designing a Slogan
The first thing that you need to ask yourself when sit down to write a slogan or set up a slogan writing contest is: what is the purpose of this tagline? If you cannot answer that question you’ll be wasting your time and effort.
Worse you could harm your organization by putting out a slogan that contradicts its statements or purposes. Many slogans including some for giant corporations seem to serve little or no purpose.
Even worse are slogans that sound good but serve no purpose. A meaningless slogan will be a waste of time and money even if it sounds good.
A great way to determine the purpose of the slogan is to write your goal down on a piece of paper. Then sit down and try to come up with a tagline that achieves the goal.
The Goal Determines the Slogan
Once you have a goal you can design a slogan writing contest around it. If you want a successful slogan you’ll need to have a clear cut and concise goal.
An example of this might be: “I want the public to know that my business has the lowest prices on this product in my area.”
The entrants in the contest will then have a clear cut goal to strive for. They will know that you want to tell the public that you have low prices. The writes will also know that you want to emphasize the prices in the tagline.
So why not sit down and write up some goals or a goal you want to achieve. Then build a slogan writing contest around those goals. Those goals can be simple or noble ones. Even a vague goal can be better than no goals.
A vague goal might be: “I want to set my business apart from my competitors.” Truly creative writers can make a slogan based on even the vaguest goals but they cannot create a slogan based on no goals.
So what makes a slogan catchy anyway? Judging by many of the catchy slogans of the past and present there is no simple or clear cut answer to this question. Instead there seems to be no magic formula for a successful slogan.
Musical slogans can be effective in some instances remember “plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is for Alka Saltzer.” Yet they can also be seen as silly or childish. A rhyming musical slogan can work wonders for a stomach ache remedy but it would probably damage a politicians’ chances of reelection. After all nobody would vote for a leader they felt was silly or childish.
Humorous Marketing Slogans Not Always Appropriate
The same might be said of humorous slogans which are very memorable but can damage somebody’s reputation. Sometimes laughter can enhance a product or its reputation but it can also damage a reputation. After all you don’t want to go to a doctor, a lawyer or a stockbroker that you think is a joke.
Yet humor in marketing slogans can help promote products designed for serious situations. A silly slogan might be just what is needed to get people thinking about a serious issue or need such as that for insurance. Think how much car insurance the GEICO gecko has sold for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The gecko uses humor to sell a very serious and boring product.
On the other hand a humorous marketing slogan would not be appropriate for life insurance. Life insurance only pays when somebody dies and that isn’t a very funny situation. Yet a humorous marketing slogan might help investment advisers sell another product: annuities.
Effective Slogans for Investment Advisers
Annuities provide automatic income for their beneficiaries. An investment adviser might use this catchy slogan: “Do you want to end up broke and retired?”
That tagline is a little humorous but it is also deadly serious. After all you go to an investment adviser or retirement planner in order to avoid ending up broke and retired?
A similar and equally clever slogan for a retirement planner might be: “Do you really want to spend your golden years living in your children’s spare room?”
These slogans are appropriate because they use humor to get people to think about a serious product they need. Nobody likes to think about growing old or planning for retirement do they? Just as most of us hate thinking about car insurance.
Discretion and Slogans
Choosing an appropriate slogan is a matter of discretion and judgment as much as anything else. A tagline that is appropriate for a retirement planner might not be appropriate for an estate planner for example even though their jobs are very similar.
Many of us have the discretion and judgment needed to choose an appropriate slogan for our business but the talent to create a catchy slogan. That’s where a slogan writing contest can help you. You can use the talented people that enter the contest to write the slogans then your own judgment to pick out a tagline that’s appropriate for your business. That way you can create a catchy slogan that will not offend your customers.
Ethics can be a big part in deciding a slogan.
There is an ethical dimension to marketing slogans that some entrepreneurs might not be aware of. Taglines can raise serious ethical questions because they often make a promise.
If the business cannot or will not deliver on the promise made in the tagline it is essentially lying to customers and potential customers. A store that promises: “the lowest prices in town” but does not deliver is not only deceiving customers, it is giving them a reason not to believe its marketing slogans.
That means business owners need to review their organizations’ capabilities before they employ a slogan maker. They need to know what their organization is capable of and not capable before putting a promise before the public.
Don’t Make Unrealistic Promises
A retailer should check with suppliers and wholesalers to make sure she can deliver on promises of low prices. If she learns that wholesale prices or other business costs will go up in the near future scrapping a marketing slogan promising low prices would be a really good idea.
A company owner that promises “One day service” or “one day turnaround” should go over his business records to determine if his staff can actually provide such service. If they cannot the owner should consider emphasizing another of the organization’s capabilities.
A car dealer would be better off stating: “We clean every used car on our lot” than “we have the cleanest cars in town.” There is no way to prove the second claim, but it is easy to verify the first claim.
Making a claim that can be verified in a marketing slogan adds credibility to the tagline and the business. It proves that the company is honest and delivers on its promises to customers. It also demonstrates that the organization is ethical and treats customers in an ethical manner.
Review Taglines Regularly
Business operators need to reveal all taglines regularly to make sure that they accurately reflect the organization’s capabilities and operations. The business might have new capabilities that are not mentioned in the current slogans. It might no longer be capable of delivering on some promises made.
After the review you might have to update the slogans. The best way to do this is to hold a slogan writing contest to create a new tagline for the organization. It is also a good idea to hold such a contest whenever the organization’s capabilities change.
If prices have to be raised it might be a good idea to create a new slogan that emphasizes some of the business’s other strengths such as customer service or expertise. If there is something that your organization does that no competitor does it would be a good idea to point it out.
You should verify this before you spend money on the slogan contest. A good way to verify your competitors’ capabilities is to simply call them and ask what they can do. Don’t claim that your organization has a unique capability when it does not.
Creating a slogan that accurately and honestly reflects your organization’s capabilities is one of the best ways to demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices to customers. A slogan contest can enable you to take this step today.
A great way to think of a marketing slogan is an offer of a solution to the customer. Taglines that make a specific promise to the public are actually promising a solution to a problem.
An example of such a tagline is the common promise made by liquor stores that: “We have the coldest beer in town.” The problem is that most Americans like to drink cold beer but many liquor stores sell brews that are warm. The store is promising customers that their beer will be cold.
Another promise a liquor store might make is that: “We have the biggest selection of beer in town” or “The largest beer cooler in the Tampa Bay area.” The store owner is promising customers a large selection of beer with the first marketing slogan and stating that a high percentage of his product will be cold with the second tagline.
The Purpose of the Promise
Such marketing slogans have a twofold purpose:
- To demonstrate a higher level of commitment and dedication to customers. Basically they say “we are willing to go out of our way to meet your needs.” To say to customers “we care about you and want to help you.”
- To set the business apart from the competition. Yes there are liquor stores on every corner in the city but we’re the only store in town with really cold beer and a gigantic selection.
A great example of a catchy slogan that would meet these criteria is: “We know beer.” Or “Beer is our passion.” These seemingly simple statements demonstrate passion for the product and a knowledge of it that comes from actually drinking and enjoying beer.
Be Careful What You Promise
You should always be careful what you promise in a marketing slogan. If you claim to have the coldest beer in town you will have to make a reasonable effort to achieve that goal. Such a tagline is a goal for the business and its employees to achieve as well as a promise.
The liquor store that promises cold beer and a large selection will need to have a cold cooler and a large stock. If it cannot deliver on those promises it’ll disappoint customers and drive them away. The store might not need to measure the temperature constantly but it should definitely count the number of brands of beer offered on its competition’s shelves.
That means vague slogans that promise a commitment to values or a purpose are sometimes better. Promising “We know beer” means a liquor store must hire employees that actually know a lot about beer.
A really great slogan can energize and motivate an organization and its employees even without making such a promise. Pedigree Dog Food likes to boast: “We’re for dogs.” What Pedigree is really saying is that it is passionate about dogs and meeting their needs.
Creating the Slogan Solution
If you want an effective marketing slogan you should think of a solution that your organization offers the public. It could be particular knowledge or expertise that your organization has or just something that you do well. Mainly it should be something that you can easily deliver upon but sets your outfit apart from the competition.
Once you’ve thought of something like that make it the basis of a slogan contest. Such a contest can emphasize your organization’s capabilities and show potential customers the solutions that you can offer.