"A forceful, catchy, mind-grabbing utterance which will rally people to buy something or behave in a certain way." (Crystal 180). A slogan is a noun, usually repeated and persuasive that creates a memorable catch phrase, motto, or jingle, that expresses a particular aim or concept. A concept that you want to stick in your audience’s mind like glue to paper.A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial gago and other contexts as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose.It is created and used in life , career and business.It is easy to remember. It is used by copy writers continuously for the sake of establishing it. It creates an of repetition. It gives an identity to the company or to its products. Slogan is a part of an advertisement copy.
What makes a slogan memorable? Brevity is first in line -- normally 10 words or less. Rhythm is the only exception to brevity. Rhythm is easier to create if there is an association to the receiver’s past -- like a particular jingle on TV during their teen years for those now in their 50s. I still hold one from a TV ad long ago, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." And I never smoked.
What are the benefits for using slogans? Brevity, as mentioned earlier, meets the requirements of today’s fast pace. Slogans also influence decisions, persuade, and add credibility. Our brains are like filing cabinets. A slogan makes it easier to file and pull when needed. For NLPers, neuro-linguistic programming, slogans create anchors. When people repeat the slogan, then consider it filed.
Types of Slogan
- A feature:a uniqueness or difference between a substance, product or object. Ex: "Write an ebook in 7 days."
- A benefit:a result that someone receives. Remember, this saves your time or money.
- A question: thought-provoking methods. "How would you like to be a millionaire in three years?"
- A challenge:a dare. Ex: The Marines, "We are only looking for a few good men."
- A structure:a design or collection put together for a single purpose. Ex: "The Abundance Center holds all the information you will ever need to know on abundance."
There are seven ways to make a slogan memorable:
Create Life Slogans
- Make it exciting.
- Be boastful or exaggerated.
- Metaphorical, playful or humorous.
- Inspirational or uplifting.
- To trigger painful memories or possibilities.
- Use of vivid or freshful language.
Life slogans help energize goals, dreams, and even change beliefs. One of my favorite slogans gets me jumping out of bed every morning (benefit, self-referencing): "Everyday begins as a clean new slate, I am free to choose what gets written there." Is there a slogan that swirls around in your head in the morning? Share it with others -- write a poem or create a story about it.
Playtime: Create a life slogan, two or three, that get you hopping. Try them out for a day or two. Measure their energy from 1-10 (10 being highest). Share and ask for feedback.
Do you have children? Create positive slogans that rhythm and trigger action. I don't recommend negative slogans like, "Last one in, is a rotten egg." Create positive slogans, "First one in, gets a hug (rhythm and action). This slogan is a little too cute, yet it makes my point.
Create Career Slogans
Do you belong to Toastmasters or give presentations? Use slogans for the title, then repeat it in your content along with its meaning, and as the last line. Watch how many mention its affects afterwards. Create a new one for each speech.
Create interview slogans. Ones that help them remember you. Know the company’s slogan. Create a slogan that builds on you're your features and benefits of why they need to hire you. Use it during the interview. You can create one that can use one or two of the different types: self- referencing, metaphorical or inspirational.
Slogans are powerful enough that people like comedians and actors have developed entire careers around them. You don't need to be famous to start. Slogans can even become book titles later on.
In business slogans are usable for self-introductions, prospective presentations, on web sites, in e-mail signatures, and even speaking engagements.
Example: You are a coach giving a presentation for a contract with a company for life coaching or business coaching. Create a slogan for a process or concept on what applications you will be using. Or give the process an acronym, like S.T.O.P. [something]. Let the acronym be the start of the slogan. Create one for your complimentary sessions. You can also create a slogan to share each week with your clients.
Be creative, use a slogan in each of your sales and marketing processes, change them frequently if you need to. Sold a contract a year ago with one slogan, create another, and sell them another contract this year.
Use slogans in article titles, ebooks or books. Sometimes a slogan takes off and becomes so memorable it becomes the brand for a company. Coke Cola with the slogan, "The real thing," took themselves to first place in the marketplace with these three words. Everything afterwards just wasn't the real thing.
Creating a Slogan
Where do you start to build slogan’s? Re-read any of your notes or material. Highlight phrases that contain high energy. Do you lead teleclasses, like I do? Ask participants at the end of each call for two or three words of what they are taking away. Whatever they provide was memorable for them. Hear it multiple times, those are sure slogans. This also applies to pilot programs you might give. Ask for feedback, they are usually built in slogans.
Ask, "What do I want people to remember about me and my company?" KISS it -- keep it simple and short. That is possibly a slogan.
Next, ask, "What do I want them to do?" This is another type of slogan. Yellow pages had a great one for years, "Let your fingers do the walking."
Another way to create a slogan is to take two phrases that have parallel construction and place them together with a comma. Ex: Prizefighter Ali, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Features of the Advertising Slogan
A slogan is a form of verbal logo. In a print ad, it usually appears just beneath or beside the brand name or logo. A slogan sums up what one stand for, one’s specialty, the benefit, and one’s marketing position, and one’s commitment. It is especially useful to reinforce one’s identity. A slogan can prove to be more powerful than a logo. People can remember and recite your slogan while they are unlikely to doodle your logo. It is more important for your slogan to clearly state what you are about than to be clever, but if you can accomplish both, all the better. Slogans have two basic purposes: to provide continuity to a series of ads in a campaign and to reduce an advertising message strategy to a brief, repeatable and memorable positioning.
The slogan should be used everywhere. Think of it as being attached to one’s name like a shadow; put it on business cards, printed ads, personal brochures, signs, letters, in the yellow pages -everywhere one can put it.
The advertising slogan is always short and epigrammatic in nature. It helps to make the ad more impressive and memorable.So let’s take a look at the stylistic features of these fabulous slogans to see how it can achieve its aim.
1. At the graphetic level
1.1 Consistent use of initial capitalization.
To achieve an emphatic effect, the ad slogan is just like a headline which uses initial capitalization to attract more attention or to stress every word it says to impress the reader.
1.2 Sometimes full use of capitalization.
- Heinz: Beanz Meanz Heinz.
- Toyota: I Love What You Do For Me.
Sometimes for the same reason as above, the ad slogan needs to emphasize every letter it uses or to make the ad slogan look trim and tidy.
2. At the phonological level
2.1 Use of rhymes.
- NewsWeek: THE WORLD’S NEWSMAGAZINE.
- Oracle: SOFTWARE POWERS THE INTERNET.
2.1.1 Rhymes with brand name
One of the best techniques for bringing in the brand name is to make the slogan rhyme with it. An ad slogan is better if it reflects the brand’s personality. By this kind of rhyming, the brand name is highlighted. The ad slogan is thus highly purposed. It can differentiate a slogan from others by the brand name and the special rhyming which is the identity of the slogan.For example
2.1.2 Rhymes - brand name mention
- Haig Scotch: Don't be vague. Ask for Haig.
- Quavers: The flavour of a Quaver is never known to waver.
A fall-back position is to use a rhyme and mention the brand name without it actually rhyming. It is not so effective, perhaps, because the brand name is not highlighted. The slogan is likely to lose its identity, because similar products can use the same ad slogan with a simple change of the product name.For example :
2.2 Use of alliteration
- Viakal: It's the Viakal fizz that does the bizz!
- Jaguar : Grace, space, pace.
Alliteration can help the slogans achieve the strong beating rhythm needed to make it an repeatable sentence. By so doing, the sentences are more slogan-styled. They can be easily remembered by the audience. Alliteration can also achieve an emphatic effect of the meaning.For example :
3. At the lexical level
- Allied Irish Bank: Britain's best business bank.
- Greyhound: Greyhound going great.
- Fila: Functional... Fashionable... Formidable...
3.1 Common uses of second person addressee "you", "we","us"
The use of second person addressee "you" tends to shorten the distance between the product or the producer and consumers, as if the producer or the ad is speaking to you face to face, making sincere promises, honest recommendations. In so doing, the ad slogans stand a better chance to move the receiver or customers to action, because the receiver feels that he is being thought of and taken care of and he is the center point of the producers.For example:
- HYUNDAI: Always there for you.
- Nestle Milo: Bring out the champion in you.
The use of first person addresser "we" and "us" is the most direct way to tell the receiver what the sponsor of an ad slogan stands for, his idea, his view, and his credit. It’s a little bit like a self-introduction to the potential customers to let them know you, recognize you, believe you and trust you.For example:
3.2 Use of unqualified comparison
- Avis Rent A Car: We try harder.
- Fed ex: We live to deliver.
Admen have to abide by the code of commercial practice and stick to the rules of advertising. They should not advertise their product at the expense of others. So they resort to unqualified comparison to avoid defaming other products. (XUE Hangrong,2003:189) They can not say: "Brand X is better than brand Y." Otherwise, unpleasant lawsuits will inevitably occur. They can say for example:
3.3 Use of "every" "always", etc
- Coleman footgear: Better choice, better joys.
These words are often used in ads to indicate the universal application of the product or to include as many potential customers as possible or to achieve the emphasis of the product’s utility or the company’s unswerving commitment.For example:
3.4 Use of "no", "none", etc
- Always Coca-Cola.
- Mitsubishi: Technically, everything is possible.
Negatives tend to be used very sparingly because the purpose of all ad slogans is to strengthen the positive side. But when negatives do occur, they are usually placed in an emphatic position to highlight the special the positive side.For example:
3.5 Use of coined words
- Mercedes Benz: The pursuit for perfection has no finish line.
- M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
Coined words are both new and memorable. Coined words are kind of smart words have a special meaning in the specified context. They can raise the interests of the ad slogan receivers, make them ponder upon the meaning and marvel at the smart idea of the admen. By so doing, they recognized the brand.For example :
4. At the syntactic level.
- Louis Vuitton: Epileather.
- Burton Menswear: Everywear.
- Gordon's & Tonic: Innervigoration.
4.1 Use of short simple sentences
The slogan must be short and simple; it can not afford to be complicated and clumsy. Short simple sentences are easy to remember, while one main aim of an ad slogan is to be memorable and recited. So short and simple sentences serve advertising slogans right.For example:
4.2 Use of everyday sentences
- Sumsung Digitall-Everyone is invited.
- GE: We bring good things to life.
Every day sentences tend to be overly used in day life, but it can be very forceful when used in an ad slogan. These sentences travel very fast, because anyone can remember it without any effort. It can just hang upon people’s lips. It’s something popularized without much publicity.For example:
4.3 Use of phrases.
- Nike: Just do it
- Nestle: It’s the taste!
Slogans are a kind of special writing form. They can almost do without subjects. Phrases may be better than if not as good as sentences. All kind of phrases can be put into use: noun phrase, verb phrase, preposition phrase, adjective phrase, etc. They are so concise and to the point that they are beyond our power to do any addition or subtraction.For example:
4.4 Use of questions
- Apple computer: think different
- Malaysia Airlines: Beyond expectation.
- Maxwell House: Good to the last drop.
In ad headlines questions are often used to attract attention by mentioning the matter that concerns the customers most. They help to arouse the curiosity of the customers and entice them to read on to find the solution to the problem. Many slogans (also called themeline or tagline) begin as successful headlines. (Arens, William F. & Bovée, Courtland L. 1994: p.289) So it is not surprising that the slogan can use questions too for the same purpose.For example:
4.5 Use of imperative sentences.
- Ford: Have you driven a Ford lately?
- Volkswagen Polo: R u Polo?
In an ad, the slogan is the last few words said. Although it’s just a few words, the admen don’t let it go at that. They use every opportunity to exhort the potential customers to act, to buy and to consume. The slogan is their last battle field to get people moved. It is not surprising that they would use imperative sentences to make a slogan while this kind of sentence is the most direct way to achieve the ideal effect.For example:
4.6 Use of tense.
- Express card: Don’t leave home without it.
- United Airlines: Life is a journey, travel it well.
Almost all the ad slogans use simple present tense to satisfy the customer’s desire to know the present state of the product he wants to buy. But there is another aspect of the simple present: its implication of universality and timelessness.For example:
4.7 Creative use of idioms or proverbs
- DeBeers: A diamond is forever.
- Rossini: Time always follows me
Idioms and proverbs are familiar to most potential customers in a society and have no difficulty to be popularized. The creative use of the idioms and proverbs can give them new meaning while making them memorable and campainable.For example:
5. At the semantic level.
- Financial Times: No FT, no comment.
- IBM: I think, therefore IBM.
5.1 Semantic ambiguity
Ad slogans have to conform to the code of commercial practice. Semantic ambiguity is needed to avoid any possible legal liability.For example:
5.2 Use of puns
- Philips: let’s make things better.
5.2.1 A really good pun can work miracles. However note the lack of brand identity in these otherwise excellent examples. Almost any competing brand could use these lines. Although they are good, they have no specific identity of their own.For example
5.2.2 Use of brand name
- Moss Security: Alarmed? You should be.
- Pioneer: Everything you hear is true.
- Range Rover: It's how the smooth take the rough.
In these lines, the brand name appears, but as the solution or promise rather than part of the pun. These slogans with brand name in it can help the name be remembered while offer a two layered meaning to the slogan. The second layer of meaning can interest and impress the people with its smartness and its novelty.For example:
5.2.3 Here the brand goes to work, as inextricably part of the pun.
- Kenco Really Rich Coffee: Get Rich quick.
- Finish Detergent: Brilliant cleaning starts with Finish.
- Citibank: Because the Citi never sleeps.
- Quavers Snacks: Do me a Quaver.
All the above-mentioned stylistic features of ad slogans are necessary to make them neat, simple, original, strategic, memorable and campagianable. The slogans are also a kind of poetic language, which we should pay attention to.
After a study of 103 ad slogans of large to medium sized companies in recent years, I did a little summarizing. The reason why I choose large to medium sized companies is that good ad slogans always come form them and they can represent the trend in ad slogans.
Number of words in a slogan Number of slogans counted1127325433512614738592131From this chart we can see that three-worded slogan and four-worded slogan are the most favored in the creation of a slogan with 25 and 33 slogans for each type, and five or six worded slogans are also widely used. Two worded and eight worded slogans still occupy a share. But the number of other length slogans decreased dramatically. The longest ad slogan in study has 13 words which is a rare case because it is too lengthy to be a slogan.And one worded slogan can not express fully the rich and multi-layered meaning that a slogan wants to convey. The eight worded slogans are preferred than the seven worded ones is because the former generally uses a parallel or contrasted structure, so for each small sentence of the structure the length is just four words which is the most preferred length. The average length of an ad slogan is 4.447 words. It is the trend for the slogan to be short, about 2 to 6 words long. This is just my general analysis of the results.
It is useful to conduct a more detailed study of the slogans because more and more Chinese companies are going abroad to do their business and they need a good English slogan to establish their image in the world business arena. This study will also help the development of the Chinese ad slogans in China. Good ad slogans are forever.