They’re the pithy string of words that cause writers block among sweaty sleep deprived creatives.
Taglines, straplines, slogans, or – as they’re apparently called in Japan – catchcopies.
Whatever you want to call them, they’re an essential element of advertising.
Typically short, these little fellas have just one job to do: encapsulate exactly what a brand is all about.
Of course they need to be memorable, so memorable that when you think of a brand, you are instantly able to recall the slogan, and vice versa.
That’s a lot of pressure for a few little words to carry.
“A tagline has to be brutally single-minded. This is not the place to squeeze in lots of reasons to believe and the like,” says Jen Speirs, creative director at DDB Sydney.
“It has to establish what type of conversation the brand will be having with people as well as as the tone and personality of the brand overall.”
Paul Swann, creative partner at Sydney’s The Works, says taglines need to create a reaction. A smile, a thought or a double take are pretty desirable responses. “But this can’t be at the expense of communicating the brand’s purpose and tone.”
A great tagline is something that you’re saying in your head before an ad has even finished, according to Spinach’s GM and media director Ben Willee. He says: “The best ones have not only stood the test of time but have become part of popular culture.”
And so in this vein, we present 10 of the best taglines, handpicked by some award winning adlanders.
1. ‘The burgers are better at Hungry Jack’s’, Hungry Jacks.
It’s a bold statement that won over GPY&R’s Film Cannes Young Lions winners, copywriter Tristan Viney and art director Carl Robertson.
“What makes this line so great is that it has made its way into the fast-food-loving vernacular – and you hear people using the tagline to convince their friends to go to HJ’s over their competitors.”
Now pass me that Whopper.
2. ‘When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight’, FedEx.
“Talk about a statement that galvanises a whole company. No room for ambiguity there,” says Spinach’s Willee.
And how do you know when you’re on the money with a slogan? Quentin Tarantino adapts it for one of his films. The Fedex tag got a nod in the film Jackie Brown with a parody line: “When you absolutely, positively got to kill every last mother****** in the room, accept no substitutes.”
3. ‘We’re for dogs’, Pedigree.
Paul Swann, creative partner at The Works, is a sucker for the simplicity of this line and the way it seizes leadership of the pet-food category.
“It takes them beyond just being a dog food manufacturer and enables them to own much more,” Swann says. “It means they can become the trusted experts on dog welfare in general.”
4. ‘Keep walking’, Johnnie Walker.
Havas Worldwide Sydney creative director Stuart Turner picked this two-worded gem.
“Sitting on its own without any visual or idea, I completely understand what it stands for and I can imagine my own ideas of what it could mean for different people,” he says.
“It also has a lovely nod to the product name with the word ‘walk’, and allows the brand to talk about itself as well as focus on the ambitions of its consumers.
“Short, simple, powerful, and timeless. Perfect.”
5. ‘Probably the best beer in the world’, Carlsberg.
“It’s hard to make concrete claims in this category so I’ve always been a fan of the word ‘probably’ in this line,” says The Work’s Swann.
“It’s confident but also a bit self depreciating which I think is great for a beer brand aimed largely at men.”
Unfortunately the Danish brewing company lost confidence in the slogan that was created by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1973 and in 2011 turned back to the slogan it first used in 1957: “that calls for a Carlsberg”.
The refurbished tagline was introduced to about 140 markets via the spaceman spot below.
6. ‘For a hard earned thirst’, VB.
You can’t forget this Aussie classic. “Every red blooded son of ANZAC can relate to this,” says Willee.
“Despite driving a desk all day, I feel like I’ve earned one.”
7. ‘What to bring when you’re told not to bring a thing’, Cadbury Favourites.
It is catchy and clearly communicates the brand’s positioning. The clincher? It makes The Work’s Swann want to repeat it.
“Convention might suggest this is too long but I like the bravery in having a longer line; I think this helps it stand out.”
8. ‘From where you’d rather be’, Corona.
The Corona brand immediately conjures images of sun-drenched afternoons, shaggy-haired surfers and hints of citrus. All this from just five words.
For Tommy McCubbin, creative director at CHE Proximity, this strapline immediately sprung to mind when asked for his top two “because it plays to the brand’s Mexican heritage and evokes memories of drinking Coronas in the sun”.
9. ‘Impossible is nothing’, Adidas
This pick is sure to put off Nike fans and lovers of the ‘Just do it’ line, but Havas’ Turner feels this old Adidas line has more gravitas.
For starters, it was taken from a Muhammad Ali quote.
“It’s intriguing, thought provoking, and inspires one to look at any challenge, no matter how big, as achievable. Perfect for a brand that equips you with the gear you need to do just that,” he says.
“It’s just a pity they didn’t stick with it.”
The line was retired in 2011 in favour of ‘All In’ which was catapulted into the market by what the brand described as the biggest marketing campaign in its history.
10. ‘World Famous in New Zealand Since AGES ago’, L&P.
This one comes from across the ditch and has a number of local fans. DDB Sydney’s Speirs says the cheeky line immediately sets up the lemon-flavoured soft drink as a likeable iconic NZ brand.
“With one line they’re screaming gravitas and down-to-earth simultaneously,” Speirs says.
“I know in an instant that their brand personality and tone is self-deprecating – and that from here on the conversation they’re going to have with me is going to be entertaining – and I like it.”
GPY&R copywriter Tristan Viney and art director Carl Robertson agree. “It’s classic Kiwi cheek that doesn’t say much about the soft drink they’re selling, but immediately communicates what they’re about. This immediately makes their competitors seem pedestrian, because L&P becomes instantly relatable – just like one of your mates.”