“Just Do It”
Did you know it was inspired by a murderer? Utah Gary Gilmore’s last words when facing a firing squad were, “Let’s do this.”
Inspiration can come from anywhere when you’re open to it.
This slogan almost didn’t make the cut in 1993 at the Goodby Silverstein agency. It was deemed lazy and grammatically incorrect. But after a series of ads featuring people struggling uncomfortably after having dry or sticky treats without any milk to wash them down, it was an instant success. Even celebrities joined the campaign, being featured proudly wearing a milk mustache.
If you’re stuck on a slogan, consider using a question instead of a statement.
“We Try Harder”
In 1962 Avis embraced its position as the second largest car rental company with this slogan. The following year, the campaign helped the company go from losing $3.2 million to a profit of $1.2 million.
After five decades, the company retired the slogan in favor of “It’s Your Space.” Whatever that means.
“Gimme a Break”
Worded initially as, “Have a break, have a Kit Kat,” this slogan was coined to sell chocolate to working people in 1958.
The word “break” was used to signify break time at work and breaking a finger off the Kit Kat bar.
This is another slogan with poor grammar, but it’s how people speak, which is why it works. The double meaning of the word break is clever and memorable. If you can do something similar with your own slogan, it’s almost certainly going to be a winner.
“A Diamond is Forever”
This is the corniest slogan of all and makes me cringe whenever I hear it. And yet, this 1947 slogan from the N.W. Ayer Agency increased sales of diamonds by 55% in two years and made diamond engagement rings a cultural mainstay.
The slogan was coined in a moment of sheer panic after Frances Gerety realized she’d forgotten to include a signature line in her advertisements for DeBeers. Just think, if given more time to work on it, she might not have chosen this slogan. Sometimes the pressure of a deadline can truly work wonders. In fact, in 1999, Advertising Age named this the “Slogan of the Century,” just two weeks before Frances passed away.
“What Happens Here, Stays Here”
Las Vegas launched an effective marketing campaign in the 90s that promoted the city as a family vacation spot. Apparently, it didn’t work as well as hoped because, in 2002, they commissioned R&R Partners to begin researching what people wanted out of Las Vegas. A year later, they had the answer: Freedom. People liked the freedom to do what they couldn’t do at home, and thus, “What Happens in Los Vegas Stay in Los Vegas” was born.
Was it successful? Judge for yourself: Every $1 spent on the advertising campaign with this slogan generates $26 in returns for the city.
“The Best a Man Can Get”
After nearly a century of lousy branding, Gillette finally hit the slogan to revitalize the brand and allow them to dominate the shaving industry.
“The Best a Man Can Get” has been used in 14 languages. Notice the double meaning: It can be interpreted as both the best shave a man can get and the best a man can be, offering product quality and self-empowerment in one simple phrase.
“Breakfast of Champions”
In an early version of influencer marketing, beginning in 1933, Wheaties featured famous athletes on its cereal boxes with the slogan, Breakfast of Champions. What athlete doesn’t want to be identified as a champion? This tagline has made countless athletes agree to be on the cereal box and endorse the product.
“Because You’re Worth It”
Imagine 1973 when women in the U.S. and U.K. were campaigning for equal rights. L’Oreal’s slogan was the first ever written from a woman’s perspective and broke new ground for equal rights.
It’s interesting to note that the original line was, “Because I’m Worth It.” Women may not have felt empowered enough at the time because a survey found the original line “too boastful” for their tastes. L’Oreal quickly changed it to “Because You’re Worth It,” and then in 2009, they changed it again to “Because We’re Worth It” to brand L’Oreal as a lifestyle and philosophy for empowered women.
“Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”
This M&M slogan debuted in 1954 to set this candy apart from others, leaving an unpleasant, sticky mess on consumers’ fingers.
And according to a survey from Texas Tech University, this is the most well-liked slogan in the history of advertising.
Here are 55 more slogans you might recognize…
- 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. (Geico)
- Advancement Through Technology. (Audi)
- All the news that’s fit to print. (New York Times)
- American by birth. Rebel by choice. (Harley Davidson)
- Beanz Meanz Heinz. (Heinz)
- Betcha can’t eat just one. (Lays)
- Capitalist Tool. (Forbes)
- Choosy moms choose Jif. (Jif Peanut Butter)
- Democracy dies in darkness. (Washington Post)
- Don’t be vague. Ask for Haig. (Haig Scotch Whiskey)
- Eat fresh. (Subway)
- Expect more, pay less. (Target)
- Finger lickin’ good. (KFC)
- Grace… space… pace. (Jaguar)
- Hand built by robots. (Fiat Strada)
- Have it your way. (Burger King)
- I think, therefore IBM. (IBM)
- I’d walk a mile for a Camel. (Camel)
- Imagination at Work. (General Electric)
- Impossible is nothing. (Adidas)
- It is. Are you? (The Independent)
- It keeps going and going and going. (Energizer)
- It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (Timex)
- Let Your Fingers Do The Walking. (Yellow Pages)
- Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. (Maybelline)
- Mmm mmm good. (Campbell’s)
- Open happiness. (Coca-Cola)
- Reassuringly expensive. (Stella Artois)
- Red Bull gives you wings. (Red Bull)
- Shave time. Shave money. (Dollar Shave Club)
- Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name. (Meow Mix)
- The best 4 x 4 x far. (Land Rover)
- The Citi Never Sleeps. (Citi Bank)
- The few. The Proud. The Marines. (US Marine Corp)
- The happiest place on earth. (Disneyland)
- The king of beers. (Budweiser)
- The quicker picker upper. (Bounty)
- The ultimate driving machine. (BMW)
- The world’s local bank. (HSBC)
- There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard. (Mastercard)
- There is no finish line. (Nike)
- Think big. (IMAX)
- Think different. (Apple)
- Think outside the bun. (Taco Bell)
- Think Small. (Volkswagen)
- When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. (FedEx)
- When it rains, it pours! (Morton Salt)
- When the world zigs, zag. (BBH)
- When there is no tomorrow. (FedEx)
- When you care enough to send the very best. (Hallmark)
- When you got it, flaunt it. (Braniff Airlines)
- Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)
- Wotalotigot! (Smarties)
- You deserve a break today. (McDonald’s)
- You never actually own a Patek Phillipe, you merely take care of it for the next generation. (Patek Phillipe)