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Branding Through Taglines
Aug 2015

Branding Through Taglines

“Just do it.”

“Good to the last drop.”

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

As you read each of the above, I’ll bet a picture of the products associated with each of those taglines materialized in your mind, didn’t it? Without so much as a photo of a runner, you said, “Nike!” No whiff of java was necessary for you to think, “Maxwell House Coffee!” And the image of a colorful handful of M&Ms popped into your head just by hearing those few familiar words.

There’s no question: You know these products because of their taglines.

And that is pretty powerful stuff.

Coming up with a memorable tagline can go a long way toward building your brand.

What makes a memorable tagline? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Seven words or less
  • Easily repeated
  • Negative statements don’t sell
  • Conveys the essence of your brand, your unique selling point or positioning
  • If you can, be clever with a play on words or rhyming (e.g., “The weight is over” for Weight Watchers or “You shop. We drop.” for Tesco Superstore Trucks)

Writing a memorable tagline is not as easy as it looks and shouldn’t be rushed. When you are dealing with something that will help define your product or service in the mind of your customer, being trendy or topical is not the goal. You want something for the long haul.


In use since 1917, the tagline “Good to the Last Drop” grew out of an (allegedly) overheard comment, when President Theodore Roosevelt, while visiting Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage, near Nashville in 1907, enjoyed a cup of Maxwell House Coffee and proclaimed it to be “Good to the Last Drop.”

Now, at the time, some might have argued that invoking the President’s endorsement in more specific terms would have more impact than the generic “Good to the Last Drop.” However, how much of an effect would it have on today’s coffee consumers had the Maxwell House tagline been “Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite cup!” or “Rough Riders love smooth coffee”? Perhaps the marketers of the day knew a little something about developing an effective tagline!

(By the way, “Good to the Last Drop” appears as #6 in Ad Age’s list of “Top 10 Slogans of the [20th] Century” … here’s the full list, which you might find interesting.)

Here’s a five-point plan for coming up with your own effective, long-term tagline:

  • Brainstorm session with colleagues
    • Start with adjectives describing your product
    • What problem does your product/service solve?
    • Think outside the box: no idea is a bad one in a brainstorm
  • Look at competitors’ taglines to make sure yours is not going to be similar
  • Review other taglines that you like
  • Write out sample headlines
  • Test them out on colleagues and customers

And, finally … Implementation: Don’t just let the tagline appear suddenly. Introduce it with some fanfare – a tagline celebration, tagline promotion, t-shirts to VIP customers, etc.

WhiteHOT, Inc. is led by owner Phil Clouser, a seasoned creative director with over 25 years in sales and marketing. Whether you’re doing a full-blown campaign or a single project, we do it more competitively than the big agencies. That’s the advantage of our streamlined, boutique approach. We are aggressive as well as responsive. We’ll meet with you, analyze your goals and expectations, design your project, and expedite it before the “big guys” assign a team and traffic number. Call Phil today at 609-577-4314 to get the best value for your money, without the aggravation!

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