Advertising has always had a special place in my heart largely because it so nicely encapsulates everything I love about the power of communications – an image coupled with a single phrase can change the world (literally, as you will see in some of the examples I’ve listed below).
Forbes has listed some of the most beloved advertising taglines ever – out of which, I’ve highlighted my favourites as below. In fact, I’ve purposely left out the brands they are associated with, just to show how powerful they are – I bet you can figure out which brands they belong to. In fact, I’ll take it one step further, I’ll remove certain words – see if you can actually complete the tagline as well!
- The Ultimate Driving […]
- Just Do […].
- Don’t Leave […] Without It.
- We Try […].
- Got […]?
- There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy. For Everything Else, There’s […]
- A Diamond is […]
- Can You […] Me Now?
- Friends Don’t Let Friends […]
- A […] is A Terrible Thing to Waste.
- The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your […], Not in Your […].
- Be All You Can […]
I’ve listed the stories accompanying these taglines after the jump (if you’re interested to find out more about where they came from, the reasoning behind it… etc.). Also, for those marketers and clients who have this burning need to change things just because they feel things “got stale” – here’s something to chew on: many of the taglines introduced have been kept around for years… even decades!
So which are your favourites? Any others that are not listed here? Please feel free to share in the comments.
No. 1: The Ultimate Driving Machine. (BMW)
Before you experienced the “Joy” of driving a BMW, you recognized the popular automobile as the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” Created by ad agency Ammirati & Puris in 1971 while BMW was under the leadership of automotive industry legend Bob Lutz, it’s still the most recognized phrase associated with the German auto manufacturer.
No. 2: Just Do It. (Nike)
It’s not often that three little words mean so much to the success of a company, but “Just Do It,” created for Oregon-based sporting goods company Nike by agency Wieden + Kennedy in 1988, is one of the most well-known slogans in all of sports. From your hometown basketball court all the way to the big leagues of the NBA, “Just Do It” still reigns supreme as the No. 1 motivational quote for those looking to take that extra step to achieve athletic greatness.
No. 3: Don’t Leave Home Without It. (American Express)
The scene: You’re at your favorite restaurant getting ready to pay for dinner when you realize you’ve forgotten your cash. In 1975 legendary ad man David Ogilvy of agency Ogilvy & Mather coined the phrase “Don’t Leave Home Without It” for credit card company American Express. Academy Award winner Karl Malden, (A Streetcar Named Desire) served as the voice of the campaign in America, with acclaimed British broadcast journalist Alan Whicker handling the duties overseas.
No. 4: We Try Harder. (Avis)
Sometimes self-deprecation can go a long way–at least that’s what car rental company Avis believed in 1963 when it introduced its “We Try Harder” slogan. Created by agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, this tagline–and the advertising campaign behind it–was one of the reasons why just one year after the launch of the campaign, Avis turned a profit for the first time in thirteen years.
No. 5: Got Milk? (California Milk Processor Board)
Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in 1993, the “Got Milk” tagline and campaign was the California Milk Processor Board’s response to slumping milk sales in the Golden State. Initial commercials featuring the tagline stressed the importance of milk as a complement to food. Since then print ads using the tagline have featured countless celebrities with the trademark milk mustache.
No. 6: There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy. For Everything Else, There’s MasterCard.
With consumers starting to choose other credit cards, MasterCard turned to agency McCann Erickson in October 1997 to bring them back from the brink. Although there have been some modifications to the “Priceless” campaigns featuring the slogan, the message remains the same. MasterCard may have put out a lot of money to launch the campaign and its tagline, but the result? Priceless.
No. 10: A Diamond is Forever (DeBeers)
Like diamonds, this tagline will most likely be around forever. Created by Philadelphia’s N.W. Ayer & Son in 1944, the tagline for DeBeers is an example of one so catchy it infiltrates pop culture. A variation of the tagline served as the title for an Ian Fleming James Bond book and film of the same name.
No. 12: Can You Hear Me Now? (Verizon)
For a period of time after the debut of this tagline on a Verizon commercial, created in 2002 by agency Bozell Worldwide, it was impossible to go anywhere with a cellphone without hearing this phrase.
No. 13: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. (U.S. Department of Transportation)
Created by DDB Worldwide for the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1990, the purpose of this tagline was to give people permission to keep others from driving while intoxicated. The ads, which have on occasion shown the graphic consequences of drunk driving, continue to encourage teenagers and adults alike to make the right decisions.
No. 18: A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Waste. (United Negro College Fund)
Created in 1972 by Young & Rubicam for the Ad Council and the United Negro College Fund, the campaign’s and the slogan called upon Americans to donate money to the fund. It worked–during the first five years of the campaign, contributions to the UNCF doubled, despite an ongoing recession. The slogan continues to encourage a new generation of donors today.
No. 19: The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand. (M&Ms)
Sometimes the best tagline is one that tells you in no uncertain terms what the product does. Mars’ famous “melt in your mouth, not in your hand,” slogan for its M&M candies was created in 1954 by Ted Bates of ad agency Bates & Co.
No. 24: Be All You Can Be (U.S. Army)
This popular slogan created by agency N.W. Ayer was used by the U.S. Army for more than 20 years. Copywriter Earl Carter was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award in January 2003 for his work on the campaign.