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Season 4: "Slogans"

Airs on Radio One:
Saturday 15 May, 2010 10am
Monday 17 May, 2010 11:30am

Originally aired:
Saturday 6 February, 2010 10am
Monday 8 February 2010 11:30am

The word slogan- (which by the way, is a word ad people never, ever use) derives from the Gaelic "slaugh gairn", meaning "cry of the host," or "battle cry." Slogans were once an advertising staple- the brief, pithy line that embodies a brand and its promise- from "A Little Dab'll Do Ya" to "Trust your Car to the Man Who Wears the Star," to- dare we say- "Canada Lives Here." But nowadays, as Terry O'Reilly explains, the slogan is dying out, as major brands turn from words to sentiments, emotions and icons.

Listen to this episode as streaming audio (runs 27:30)


Previous Comments (16)

Brilliant! O'Reilly is a treasurehouse of information. Great program ... I'll use it in my research in Chef school.

Martin in Toronto, February 6, 2010 11:11 AM

I sat in an endless carwash lineup happily listening to the "slogans" episode of Age Of Persuasion. When it was over, the CBC slogan "Canada lives here" came on. My four year old daughter impatiently cried out "Canada lives there? That doesn't make sense!". I suppose she had been paying attention to Terry o'Reilly's thesis...

Julia carter, February 6, 2010 12:41 PM

My 7 year old son and I were listening to AOP in the car this morning in the Timmy's drive thru on our way to skating lessons. I didn't realize he was paying attention to the radio until he spoke up.

Tristan says, "Hey, I recognize that guy!"

"That was Bob the Builder!"

It took me a full minute before I could reconcile his response, replaying the last few seconds of the broadcast in my head, and then I couldn't help but laugh. Loudly.

He's quite right. Long before Obama coined it as a rallying cry, Bob the Builder was saying it.

Can we build it? Yes, we can!

DaniGirl, February 6, 2010 1:34 PM

Terry, I just gotta tell you my favourite slogan as seen on the side of a sewage pumping truck as we drove down the highway -- "We're number one at number two."

Makes me laugh every time I think of it, and it's surprising how often that is! Pity, though, I never did catch the name of the outfit...

Eric Harding, February 6, 2010 1:40 PM

Another great show. I'm a BBA student who is seriously regreting not taking the marketing stream. I've always had a dubious view of marketing types, seeing them as insincere and glib, but the more I've taken marketing classes the more I've become fascinated with the whole industry. Shows like yours just fan the flames higher - thank you for a entertaining and informative look into the behind the scenes... do you ever visit Universities to speak?

cheers, dallas

dallas, February 6, 2010 4:48 PM

The Age of Persuasion is one of my favourite radio programmes. I like the insight into human nature and psychology provided by the best marketing minds in the business. I don't know how much material Mr. O'Reilly can find, but I certainly hope he does not run out - ever.

Many thanks -

John Thomas, February 6, 2010 6:21 PM

I understand the need to ensure all legalities are covered and that you are able to market you excellent product for profit - you are a business after all. But it would be very educational for all of us, your loyal listening audience for the many seasons you have offered your insider information about advertising, to know what are the issues that prevent you from putting your programs out as a podcast.

I am a retired high school business education teacher and would have loved to have included your programs in my lessons when covering the marketing/advertising sections.

Keep up the excellent work!

Jim, February 6, 2010 6:45 PM

I love your show.good job

norm, February 7, 2010 12:14 PM

I always thought that the slogan "Yes We Can" belonged to Bob the Builder and not President Obama.

Ryan Todd, February 8, 2010 3:00 PM

I like Leno's version of Tooyota's new slogan..."Just try and stop us".

Ken Bauman, February 8, 2010 7:03 PM

I love AOP and I loved the "slogans" episode. Terry mentionned that Volkswagon didn't go with a slogan - that's because their name is the slogan; the people's car.
Love the show!
Can Bob go after Obama for copyright infringement?

Catherine, February 11, 2010 10:28 PM

A local limousine company use to have the slogan "We make life a luxury!"

Always wondered if they were run by the mafia!

Gerald K. Smith, February 12, 2010 10:16 PM

This episode got me to thinking about what 'slogans' have stuck in my head. Then it occurred to me that I still can remember the entire 'Trouble' comercial. It was that whole Pop-a-matic idea.

Les Blumhagen, February 13, 2010 4:03 AM


As you might guess, given that I write taglines for a living, I don't entirely agree with your contention that taglines are waning.

While it's true that the role of the tagline is changing somewhat—perhaps diminishing—in the mix of a brand's persuasive communications,the need for an evocative set of words to punctuate the brand communication, whatever form it takes, will always be there. Humans are hard wired to value a tidy summary, especially when it tickles.

And in this byte-sized,digital age, where all communications are shrinking and shortening, the tagline's value has never been greater. It provides the best opportunity for continuity in the brand message across all media, like the word version of the logo.

As I see it, the bigger threat to the future of taglines is that, because they are out of fashion in the industry, no one is being taught the art of writing great taglines, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Of course, this is good news for guys like me who keep the craft alive. And, because most copywriters don't or can't write really good taglines anymore, the clients of the dwindling number of writers who can, benefit, because good taglines stand out against today's ever more bland tagscape.

Aside from this bone of contention, I loved the show, and learned a whole bunch of stuff. Thanks.

Jim Morris, February 17, 2010 11:47 AM

Enjoy listening to Terry O'Reilly on CBC radio. I would like to see the same show on TV.

bev cameron, February 20, 2010 7:36 PM

A friend once had a tee shirt that read "Baker Tile Company" on the front and "We Lay Anything" on the back

Martin, February 23, 2010 7:33 PM
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