The Art and Science of the Advertising Slogan
by Timothy R. V. Foster

Art and Science Menu
A Slogan SHOULD:
1. Be memorable
2. Recall the brand name
3. Include a key benefit
4. Differentiate the brand
5. Impart positive feelings for the brand
6. Reflect the brand's personality
7. Be strategic
8. Be campaignable
9. Be competitive
10. Be original
11. Be simple
12. Be neat
13. Be believable
14. Help in ordering the brand
A Slogan Should NOT:
15. Be in current use by others
16. Be bland, generic or hackneyed
17. Prompt a sarcastic or negative response
18. Be pretentious
19. Be negative
20. Be corporate waffle
21. Make you say "So what?" or "Ho-hum"
22. Make you say "Oh yeah??"
23. Be meaningless
24. Be complicated or clumsy
And Finally...
25. You should like it 
26. Trends in slogans
Related Links
Slogan Nomenclature

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1. A slogan should be memorable

Memorability has to do with the ability the line has to be recalled unaided. A lot of this is based on the brand heritage and how much the line has been used over the years. But if it is a new line, what makes it memorable? I suggest it is the story told in the advertisement - the big idea.

The more the line resonates with the big idea, the more memorable it will be. 'My goodness, my Guinness!', as well as being a slick line, was made memorable by the illustrations of the Guinness drinker seeing his pint under some sort of threat (perched on the nose of a performing seal, for example). It invoked a wry smile and a tinge of sympathy on the part of the audience at the potential loss if the Guinness was dropped.

If it is successful, ideally the line should pass readily into common parlance as would a catchphrase, such as 'Beanz meanz Heinz' or 'Where's the beef?'

In addition to a provocative and relevant illustration or story, alliteration, coined words, puns and rhymes are good ways of making a line memorable, as is a jingle.

Let's look at some examples of these:

We'll look at rhymes in the next section.

This technique is a familiar aide-memoire.

Allied Irish Bank:

Britain's best business bank.

Doral: Discover the Doral difference.
Jaguar: Don't dream it. Drive it.
Girl Guides: Dream. Dare. Do.
Fila: Functional... Fashionable... Formidable...
Hire Knowledge: Specialized staffing solutions.


Coined words

Using made-up words can also help.
Amoy: Chineasy.
Louis Vuitton: Epileather.
Burton Menswear: Everywear.
Ski Fruit: Fruitius. Yogurtus. Delicia.
Guinness: Guinnless isn't good for you.
Gordon's & Tonic: Innervigoration.
Neff: Nefficiency.
KP Peanuts: Pure snacking. Pure snacktivity.
Smarties: WotalotIgot!

Puns in the line, no branding

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.

Moss Security:

Alarmed? You should be.

Wyborowa Vodka:

Enjoyed for centuries straight.


Everything you hear is true.

The Economist:

For top laps.

Range Rover:

It's how the smooth take the rough.

Holiday Inn:

Pleasing people the world over.


Precisely what you're looking for.

Weight Watchers Frozen Meals:

Taste. Not waist.

Northern Telecom:

Technology the world calls on.


The appliance of science.

Lea & Perrins:

The Worcester Saucerer.

Bendix Appliances:

We'll do the homework.

Puns in the line, with brand name

In these lines, the brand name appears, but as the
solution or promise rather than part of the fun.

Flowers Fine Ales:

Always pick Flowers.


Barbados. Goodness. Gracious.

Finish Detergent:

Brilliant cleaning starts with Finish.

British Steel:

British Steel: British mettle.

First National Bank of Chicago:

First relationships last.

Kenco Really Rich Coffee:

Get Rich quick.

St. Ivel Shape Yogurt:

Get your family into Shape, without them even noticing.

Kodak Gold:

Is your film as good as Gold?


It 'asda be Asda.


No HMV, no video.

Ritz Crackers:

Nothing fitz like a Ritz.

John Deere Tractors:

Nothing runs like a Deere

Mumm's Champagne:

One word captures the moment. Mumm's the word.

Money Magazine:

Reap the rewards of Money.

Red Star:

Send your parcels Red Star and pull out all the stops.

Tetley Tea:

Tetley make teabags make tea.

Tic Tac Candy:

Tic Tac. Surely the best tactic.

Impulse Deodorant:

You just can't help acting on Impulse.

Puns in the line, with brand name at work

Here the brand goes to work, inextricably part of
the pun.

Absolut Vodka:

Absolut magic.


Because the Citi never sleeps.

Frosted Chex:

Chexellent, or what?

Quavers Snacks:

Do me a Quaver.

Thomas Cook:

Don't just book it, Thomas Cook it.

Nytol Sleeping Pills:

Good mornings follow a good Nytol.


I think, therefore IBM.

Abbey National Building Society:

Investments with Abbey endings.

Cutty Sark Whisky:

Live a Cutty above.

Comet Electrical Stores:

Lowering prices forever, that's Comet sense.

Arthur's Cat Food:

Nothing else is Arthur's good.

Skoda Favorit:

Put your money on the Favorit.

Farley's Baby Food:

So Farley's, so good.

Thomas Cook Travel:

Take a Thomas Cook at our prices!

Immac Depilatory:

The look is Immac-ulate

Visa Delta Debit Card:

Visa's Delta blow to cheques

Cadbury's Wispa Candy:

You can't keep quiet about a Wispa

Campari Aperitif:

You'll find there is no Camparison.

Wike Farms Cheese:

You'll Wike it too.

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