History of Taglines

History of Taglines

We like to think that we live in a cut-throat world which is in many ways harder than ever before and whilst modern day customers and consumers are more sophisticated than ever. The problems of getting the word out on the street through advertisements, taglines and straplines are as old as business itself.

 

For centuries in the ancient and medieval world, there was no formal advertising as products were popularized simply by word of mouth but as soon as the printing press was up and running 500 years ago taglines became necessary. The first printed advertisements soon followed. By the 17th and 18th century, the weekly London newspapers were packed with adverts and slogans, ranging like today between the must-have products and those whose taglines were simply unbelievable.

 

19Th Century Straplines

The 19th century saw a huge growth in corporate business and this was accompanied by the growth of an advertising industry. It was during that century primarily in the U.S that saw the establishment of advertising agencies.

At the time they started off as brokers for space in newspapers rather than modern day ad agencies. By the early 20th century, ad agencies became involved in producing the advertising message itself including the artwork and taglines.

The Birth of the Jingle

The spread of radio sets in the 1930s led to a advertising jingles hitting the airwaves.  Unlike modern taglines, these were often lyrical slogans sung out to entice buyers.

Slogans that may sound odd tour our ears today were hugely popular at the time as they fitted the way of the life at the time.  Early Harley-Davidson’s had a tagline of ‘the motorcycle that is not uncomfortable’.  It is hard to imagine a modern campaign encouraging us to buy a computer with a tagline of “The computer that doesn’t crash”.

 

Slogans for Service

 

The 1940’s saw slogans that either emphasized an organizations commitment to the war effort or those that stressed its all-American heritage.  The driving force of consumerism changed everything after World War II and housewives were encouraged to buy the latest home accessories to make their lives easier such as freezer units, washing machines and cleaning products.  There were so many that they even gave a name to the TV shows they were advertised between, Soap Operas.

 

Savvy Slogans

 

The 1980’s and 90’s saw consumers become more savvy with advertising and as such longer slogans became replaced by shorter taglines and the focus shifted onto leisure time.  Many of these are still with us today such as Nike’s ‘Just do it’.

 

Whatever the era of the ad, the basic rules were the same, be clear, have a catchy slogan and be in tune with the great American Public. If you remember these basic proven rules when thinking about your slogan or tagline then you’ll be on the way to success.

Hollywood Taglines

Hollywood Taglines

If you think that coming up with a tagline for your business is difficult, then spare a thought for those creative studio types who have to come up with slogans for the latest movie.

Hundreds of millions of dollars can be at stake depending on the success of the marketing of the movie.  Whilst promo videos can do a lot, when it comes down to it, often taglines at the end of each trailer or at the bottom of that movie poster is either going to entice cinema goers or make them spend their money in another theater.

Tinsel Town Taglines

The fact that taglines are important to a movie demonstrates how important picking a good tagline is for your business.  As a tagline can make or break a movie then the same goes for your organization.  It is a shame for such a small but important element of your business to be so pivotal to your success but that is how it goes.

On average it take 18 months to 2 years for a Hollywood movie to go from the writers head to the big screen and in the meantime millions of dollars are spent and hundreds of people are involved in a project that has to be financed in advance with no guarantees of success.

Imagine hearing about a new action blockbuster, it stars all of the big names and has car chases and exploding helicopters and probably the odd wise-crack.  If the tagline for it is something lousy and forgettable people will avoid the film. A strapline which doesn’t relate in any way to the movie genre such as “the best nature documentary this year” will simply confuse and frustrate moviegoers.

Driving the Audience Away

Anyone with half a brain is going to think twice about seeing it as the reasoning goes if they can’t come up with a good slogan how can the movie be any good?  Likewise an awful movie with a catchy tagline and a colorful poster will probably fool lots of people into seeing a film they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

All of the best movies have a great tagline.  True they’d be a good movie without one but the tagline is the frosting on the cake.  Many of the best taglines are memorable decades after the release of the film.  They not only tell you a bit about the film but are memorable too.  “In Space no-one can hear you scream” can only belong to one film, Alien and not to a comedy road-trip.

If you don’t have a creative studio exec working in your organization then why not tap in to all of the creative sparks at Slogan Slingers.  If you need a tagline for your business, who you gonna call?

Geographic Taglines

Geographic Taglines

Some slogans are put on state license plates.

We all think of taglines as being used in the corporate world whether for small mom and pop businesses, multinationals or charitable organizations.

However they aren’t just used by businesses and many countries have long used unofficial taglines or mottos in their branding.  They do this because just as a business wants to get its message out over its values and services then it is important for a country too.

 

National Taglines

 

Many of the greatest nations have their own strapline.  Centuries ago France became embodied by the phrase “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” which translates as liberty, equality and brotherhood. 

 

The United States is known around the world for its slogans of “Land of the Free, and the Home of The Brave” or “The Land of Opportunity”.     Great Britain in the early 20th Century had a tagline of “A Land Fit For Heroes” and following a series of re-brandings and like many a good business re-branded itself and more recently coined the phrase “Cool Britannia”.

 

State Straplines

 

It isn’t just countries that get into taglines.  Mention “The Sunshine State” and few of us will think of Oregon but instead the sunny state of Florida.  The volunteer state can only be Tennessee.  In fact all 50 American states have their own slogan.

 

Just like in the business world, they use it for marketing, identity and heritage and differentiate themselves and their identity. Californiais theGoldenStatedue to its history with the Gold Rush,Virginiais theOldDominionStateas it as Charles II ofEnglandincorporated it with his other dominions inEurope.

 

Not all states have historical taglines, Wyoming is known as “The Equality State” due to the record of womens rights and equality there.  It sends a message to the rest of the country and the world of what sort of placeWyomingis and aspires to be.

 

City Slogans

 

It’s not even just states that have their own taglines.  Counties have them, even cities do too.  Everyone knows that New York is The Big Apple and the City that Never Sleeps, and that San Francisco is The Golden Gate City and The Music City is Nashville.

 

Like businesses, some cities have different taglines to target different audiences. London uses “See The World. Visit London” to attract foreign visitors while home-grown tourists see the slogan: “Totally London.”

 

Wherever they are, all these places place value on a good tagline and they spend billions on their identity and differentiating themselves from the competition.  It’s not necessary to spend a lot on your company tagline but if New York and London see value in taglines then so should your business. A slogan writing contest could make your organization as famous as those great cities.

Your Tagline Checklist

Your Tagline Checklist

A natural sounding tagline is always better than a clever one. If someone has to think what your tagline means then it isn’t working.  Simplicity is the key and your tagline should be easy to remember and not an in-depth market strategy.

A tagline or strapline should tell customers something about either your services or your company ethos as plainly as possible.  To be effective they must be simple and if possible hard-hitting.  Don’t be tempted into using taglines that sound impressive but don’t actually mean anything when stop and think about them.

Should a Tagline be a Promise or Not

Opinion is divided over whether your slogan should include a promise such as “always the best value” or “always on time”.  The risk is that sometimes you might fail to meet your obligations, which is even worse when your tagline emphasises that particular aspect of your organization.  However doing so does at least let your customers know that you are aiming high and that alone might be enough to secure their business.

When deciding on a tagline for your business it is important to consider the aspects of your business or services which your customers value most.   If you can get to the key point as what your customers value then you have got yourself a great tagline.

For example an internet company might stress its speed and mobility which isn’t much use for a business specializing in organic farmed produce. However, freshness and greenness is not usually something internet customers consider important.

Rhymes can make a strapline trip off the tongue more easily, and make it more memorable for your customers but don’t use that at the expense of the more important points above.

Finally and it might sound obvious but don’t use a tagline or a strapline simply for the sake of having one.  If it doesn’t add anything to your business image, you’re wasting your time and money.

Traits of a Really Great Slogan

Once you have a shortlist of possible taglines, rank them bearing in mind the following and discarding all that don’t make it.

Simplicity – Is it straightforward, honest, short?

Clarity –Is it really clear what you’re trying to say without leaving the customer scratching their heads?

Essence – Is it the very essence of what your customers need from your business.

Memorability – Is the phrase catchy memorable.  If you write it down and leave it for a day or two, will you still remember it?

Organize a slogan writing contest designed to give your organization a strapline that embodies these characteristics today. If you succeed you will give your company a marketing tool of immense value.

 

Not For Profit Tag Lines

Not For Profit Tag Lines

Many not-for-profit organizations don’t make use of taglines in their corporate image.  This can be a big mistake even though charitable companies are not in the business of making profit; they should be in the business of differentiating themselves from others in the non-profit sector.  With current tough economic conditions, it is important to emphasize what you do and why the kind American public should hand over their hard-earned dollars to you rather than someone else.

 

A tagline or slogan, as they used to be called, for a nonprofit organization helps your audience connect with the effort and impact that your charity has on others.  This is the same regardless of whether your charity is working hard for a better world or simply offering a helping hand to the less fortunate in your community.

 

Whilst great care may have been taken in deciding upon the name of your non-profit organization, it is easy for it to sound a little dry.  A good tagline will strengthen the emotional bonds of what you are working so hard to achieve.

 

A Slogan is a Mission Statement

 

It will deliver your organization’s mission statement in a hard hitting way which is tough to ignore and this is sometimes needed to maximize the impact for non-profit organizations.   Sometimes it isn’t even clear from the name of the charitable organization of what it is they are doing.  If this applies to your organization then a tag line will help explain your actions and motivations.

 

Lots of people don’t have too much time or money to donate and so a tagline will give the public an opportunity to connect with your organization. If it can help them feel inspired or motivated then they are much more likely to donate to your cause or volunteer some of their precious time.

 

The tagline will give them something to remember about their interactions with your not for profit organization, whether it is a monetary donation or time spent actively working on a project.  It will also help them remember you the next time that they want to help out.

 

Slogans Create a Sense of Purpose

 

Taglines aren’t just useful for your making external connections with the outside world, they can also be really useful for internal use too.  Having a good tagline helps your staff and volunteers rally round the effort and galvanize themselves for the common cause of why they are working together. It’s always good to remind people what their purpose and why exactly they are there.

 

 

Just like any other type of organization, having a good tagline is vital for a nonprofit entity in the modern world. Set up a slogan writing contest centered on your organization’s mission statement today. That way you can have dozens of creative writers trying to create an effective slogan based upon your mission statement.