The best brand slogans are both concise and creative, conveying some vital quality that beats at the heart of the brand.
Brand slogans: Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t live without ‘em. Every brand operating in the consumer marketplace today has a brand slogan, with varying degrees of emotional connection. The best brand slogans capture the spirit behind the brand – Their Big Why boiled down to a few words of inspirational language. These brand slogans are both concise and creative, conveying some quality that beats to the heart of the brand. The best slogans activate an emotional stimulus within the brain, where neuroscientists estimate that 95% of human decisions are made, resulting in an emotional bond between brand and consumer.
With the plethora of brands today, it’s not surprising that some brand slogans fall flat. We recently came across an article from Contently that analyzes some of the weirdest and off-target brand slogans. According to the article, “The best taglines are pithy and provocative. They may not always be complete sentences, but they make sense in an almost primal sort of way. Sometimes, however, slogans aspire to be profound but wind up completely meaningless.”
While the article is full of humorous insights, some of which we’ll share here, we were curious about the brand slogans that do actually work to holistically convey the aspirational qualities that make up a brand. Consequently, for each brand slogan that misses the mark, we’ll provide a counterpoint example with one that hits the bullseye.
While we get what the company is going for with these ads, the result is unnatural and strange. We agree with Contently on this one. While there is some aspirational quality to the slogan ‘I Will,’ when blended with other words, the result is some sort of awkward word soup. Misty Copeland in the video with “I Will What I Want” is a perfect example of this nebulous pronouncement. To quote the article, “I didn’t know that Under Armour’s brand voice was Yoda.”
This is the type of empowering, endless possibilities slogan that Under Armour was going for when they developed their own more vague slogan. At the core of the brand, Nike supports active lifestyles and pushes people to go further, do more and take on adventures like the young woman in this video from 2013. This slogan has been so successful at engaging consumers and providing inspiration to go out and seize your own adventure that the company is still using it as the brand’s foundational mission 27 years later.
While we don’t have quite as many problems with this one as Contently does, this brand slogan is awkward in its syntax and does make one wonder. Why would they go with this tagline given the long and storied history behind Time Warner’s low customer service marks for the brand? According to the article, “If Under Armour’s brand voice is Yoda, Time Warner is E.T. (except everyone loves E.T.) and Time Warner is … ‘Actually, Statistically the Worst,’ per New York magazine.” Perhaps, Time Warner should lay off the aspirational mumbo jumbo for a while, and first fix what’s actually wrong with the brand: poor customer service.
According to the Hubspot Article, “14 Companies With Really Catchy Taglines & Slogans,” Apple’s ‘Think Different’ slogan came out of Apple’s commercial, called “Here’s to the Crazy Ones, Think Different” – a tribute to all the time-honored visionaries who challenged the status quo and changed the world. This slogan captures the essence of the brand – that different is good and thinking differently results in the type of innovation that thinking the same would never achieve. Such a slogan gives a nod to the early adopters who are likely to stand outside an Apple store waiting for the next genius product to be released.
What is it with brands just switching around words to try to be inspirational? Yes, ‘Nothing is Impossible,’ but is ‘Impossible is Nothing?’ Contently sums up how this tagline leaves people feeling “How can impossible, an adjective, be nothing, a quantity? Is anything really impossible? What is nothing, anyway? I’m going to go read some Camus.” Brands shouldn’t be sending people into an existential crisis while trying to motivate them.
Tina Fey’s take on ‘Everyday Moments’ is both memorable and comical – she brags that she has chacne (chin acne) and accidentally eats potpourri in the checkout line because, “when I get hangry, anything within arm’s reach can be part of my twenty.” For a legacy brand like American Express, using modern humor to show how the credit card can support you in your everyday moments is both surprising and inspirational. We simultaneously get a peek into Tina Fey’s life with videos like this, but the spot also delivers the ‘What’s Your 20’ which is referring to the credit card’s rewards program. Funny and informative? Yes. American Express, you nailed it.
What are some of your favorite and least favorite brand slogans and taglines? Use #brandtags, and let us know your thoughts.