Taglines vs. Slogans


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Can you hear that Motel 6 radio commercial – Tom Bodett saying at the end, “And we’ll leave the light on for you.”? Come to find out this tagline was ad-libbed by Bodett. He just threw it in at the end. Consumers loved it. It was cute and flippant and had nothing to do with branding Motel 6. Taglines call attention to the fact that the commercial is over. Slogans are different because they speak to a company’s strategy.

Laura Ries, author of the book, “Battlecry,” answers the question – Why stay at Motel 6? Not because they leave the light on for you. The Motel 6 website has the answer: “Lowest price of any national chain.” A slogan.

Chevrolet’s tagline is “Find new roads.” Why did you buy a Chevrolet – to find new roads to drive on? No consumer is likely to say that. What’s missing is motivation.

When it comes to slogans the best ones are the ones you can see. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” You can see it and it’s strategic to the brand’s success. Too often people focus on the content of the message rather than on the memorability of the slogan. Bet you remember this slogan: “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man.” And this one: “Roto-Rooter, that’s the name and away go troubles down the drain.” Everything starts with what you can see. If you can see it, it’s more memorable.

Memory-enhancing techniques including rhyme, alliteration, repetition and reversal make for successful slogans. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In 14 words, Benjamin Franklin’s proverb used all four techniques: Two rhymes, two alliterations, one repetition and one reversal. No wonder it’s lasted 280 years.

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