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Season Five.
"Slogans"

Airs Saturday June 4th and Thursday June 9th, 2011.

This week, the Age of Persuasion looks at "Slogans." The word comes from the Gaelic "Slaugh Gairn" which means "cry of the host." We'll look at some the great marketing cries of all time, from 'Finger Lickin' Good' to "I'm Lovin' It." And why a small collection of words can be worth millions.

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All of the TV commercials and print elements we referred to in the episode, as well as some bonus materials, are below. Enjoy.

Many great brands have been built on the backs of great slogans.

Those short sentences of very carefully chosen words sometimes grow to be worth millions of dollars. In the advertising business, we never use the word "slogan." That's a layman's term. We call them "taglines."

One of the best slogans of the last 20 years is for Motel 6. It's a charming campaign created by the Richards Group of Dallas, Texas. The spots are simple and charming, and perfectly sum up the essence of Motel 6.

The radio commercials are voiced by Tom Bodet, who is an NPR radio host.

Its cornerstone, beyond Bodet's unwavering folksiness, and the consistent, infectious fiddle tune, is the line that's said to have been ad libbed during the very first recording session: "We'll Leave the Light on For Ya."

Here are a few commercials from that great campaign:



Many listeners always wonder what their favourite radio voices look like. Here's Tom Bodet in conversation, talking about the time he turned down an appearance on the Oprah show:



A little over a century ago- as modern advertising was finding its feet, print was king. Its thinking was based on the written word. Hence, slogans became a vital way to sell a brand.

Some of those phrases have even become part of our culture.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" was a slogan for apple growers in the 19th century.

In 1911, the Morton Salt company began adding magnesium carbonate to their product. That stopped the salt from caking during damp or humid temperatures. Their slogan became, "When it rains, it pours."

In the early 1920's, Listerine mouthwash embraced the sentiment "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride" as the slogan for a hugely successful ad campaign.

At UPS, the courier company, uses the slogan "What Can Brown Do For You?" in everything from recruitment advertising to prime-time TV ads. And it was aimed at both customers and employees. The slogan gave its employees a rallying point, a connection to the brand, a promise to live up to, and another reason to want to be part of UPS:



Competitor Fed Ex used a powerful slogan for many years: "When It Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight."



Slogans aren't just catchy lines or rhyming jingle lyrics.

They are very carefully worded and chosen to achieve specific goals. For example, some slogans exist to differentiate a product in a category: "Everything you've always wanted in a beer... and less" separated Miller Lite from all other beer:



Some slogans tell you how to use the product: The line "Don't treat your puppy like a dog" for Puppy Chow told you that puppies needed different food from adult dogs:



Some slogans reinforce imagery that is crucial to the brand. "Come to Marlboro Country" evoked the masculine cowboy imagery that defined Marlboro Cigarettes:



Some slogans are a request for action. "Bet You Can't Eat Just One" was a taunt that prompted people to buy lots of Frito Lay products.



Some slogans bring a positive feeling to a category dominated by negative sentiments, like insurance companies. "You're in good hands with AllState."



"Like a good neighbour, State Farm is there" was created to make people feel protected and reassured:



McDonalds has had several good slogans over the years:









Kentucky Fried Chicken used this slogan for decades:



According to Advertising Age magazine, here is a list of the top slogans of all time:

TOP 10 SLOGANS OF THE CENTURY
1. Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
2. Just do it (Nike)
3. The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
4. Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
5. We try harder (Avis)
6. Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
7. Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
8. Does she ... or doesn't she? (Clairol)
9. When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
10. Where's the beef? (Wendy's)

HONORABLE MENTIONS
• Look Ma, no cavities! (Crest toothpaste)
• Let your fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages)
• Loose lips sink ships (public service)
• M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand (M&M candies)
• We bring good things to life (General Electric)

Nike's "Just Do It" slogan is a case in point. Not a particularly memorable line on its own, but powerful because of the creative that supports it. Dan Wieden, who created the line, was inspired by, of all things, a high-profile execution. Notorious spree-killer Gary Gilmore uttered the line "Let's do it" just before a firing squad executed him in 1977. Wieden was taken aback by how powerful that simple line was, tweaked it a bit, and presented it to Nike.

The rest is advertising history:



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