Earlier this week, those hoping to get marijuana legalized in Washington D.C. unveiled two new political slogans. Kindly, refrain from your jokes suggesting that it should contain the words “munchies” or “bro.” This is a serious campaign with serious money behind it on both sides. It’s also viewed by many as an important social issue with implications that can’t be overstated. The first slogan is “Legalize” which simply and clearly states the prime objective of the entire campaign. From a marketing perspective, it’s short and sweet. The other slogan being used is “Legalization Ends Discrimination.” This is because a disproportionate number of people arrested tend to be African American. Regardless of what side of the issue you’re on, from a marketing perspective, this slogans should work well in appealing to the target audience. Let’s take a quick look at how this political slogan stacks up with other business slogans and other company taglines that are out there?
In some ways political slogans are like any other catchy slogans. They need to get your attention right away. The slogan or tagline needs to be memorable. Most importantly, it needs to be persuasive. “Legalize” seems to do that. Again, love or hate the politician but Obama’s “HOPE” played a huge role in defining his brand and galvanizing his base. It to was a one word slogan with a simple and clearly stated benefit. Four years later, “FORWARD” wasn’t quite as effective or memorable but it served its purpose. Political slogans tend to be more about ideas than selling a product or service. That means they can get away with almost grandiose one word slogans that wouldn’t work with company slogans or business taglines.
There are a few exceptions. Nissan had many years of success with “Shift” although it was typically followed by a rotating list of words. Shift Expectations. Shift Directions. Shift Happiness. Acura had “Advance” and Budweiser had “True.” For brands that don’t have the money of say major auto manufacturers, giant breweries, and well, pot, you might want to consider going with something a little more descriptive or informative. We hold slogan contests all the time to develop law firm slogans and taglines, insurance agency slogans and more. The ones the espouse a benefit or a characteristic that sets them apart tend to get a better response.
Now back to marijuana…which is a phrase never uttered before at Slogan Slingers…which we know is shocking for a site comprised almost solely of writers. Will “Legalize” work as an effective slogan for the pro-marijuana set? We say yes. Research shows a majority of voters in D.C. support legalization. So instead of getting cutesy, they leverage a known advantage. For “Legalization Ends Discrimination” we know that discrimination is a volatile word, especially in D.C. so invoking that makes a lot of sense from a strategic perspective. Even if you’re anti marijuana legalization do you really want to be pro-discrimination? That’s what this slogan suggests. Time will tell how these slogans will be remembered and acted upon. The vote is less than two months away. Until then, we’ll keep an eye on how these slogans and the opposition slogans are faring. Now would someone pass the Doritos? We have the munchies…because we’ve been working until 2:00 a.m. and haven’t eaten since dinner. Gees. What were you thinking?