A slogan, by its simplest definition, is a catchy tagline or phrase that's used by a business for advertising. It's a short and sweet reminder of the value a brand offers their customers.
Other Lessons in This Course
- The 10 Best Slogans of All Time!
- How to Make Homemade Stress Balls
- Top 10 Advertising Jingles of All Time
- The 10 Best Slogans of All Time!
- History of TV Ads
- What are the Different Versions of USB
- Types of USB Flash Memory
- How to Motivate and Retain Your Employees
- Different Types of Portable Chargers
- What is Branding and Why is It Important?
- The Truth About Made in the USA Products
- Are Water Bottles Bad for the Environment?
- How to Recycle Pens and Pencils
- Trade Show Etiquette for Presenters & Attendees
- How to Make Your Own Tote Bag
- How Cell Phones Affect Business & Advertising
Companies get our attention in many ways. They put billboards along the highway, run commercials during the Super Bowl, or print their logo on pens or stress balls. The best brands, though, know that a good slogan may be all it takes to really make an impact.
What are some of the best slogans in advertising history? Why are they effective? Let's dive into the most influential and recognized taglines of all time!
Great slogans stand the test of time and can be used outside of the brand. For example, Nike's "Just Do It" can be said by anyone – whether it's a coach encouraging their athlete to do another rep at the gym or the head honcho of a company asking their accounting team to calculate a new sales tax law.
A slogan can also be thought of as a promise a company stands behind – like you'll "open happiness" every time you drink a Coca-Cola or Fed-Ex will "absolutely, positively" have your items overnight if needed. The idea is to make the public think about what your brand offers and not just about the brand itself.
Slogans are a popular way to advertise, especially for major brands like Apple and McDonald's. The most popular business slogans of all time include:
- 1. Adidas – Impossible is nothing
- 2. Ajax – Stronger than dirt
- 3. Airbnb – Belong anywhere
- 4. Alka Seltzer – I can't believe I ate the whole thing
- 5. Allstate – You're in good hands
- 6. American Express – Don't leave home without it
- 7. Apple – Think different
- 8. Avis – We try harder
- 9. BMW – The ultimate driving machine
- 10. Bounty – The quicker picker-upper
- 11. Burger King – Have it your way
- 12. Campbell's Soup – Mmm, mmm good!
- 13. Capital One – What's in your wallet?
- 14. Chevrolet – The heartbeat of America
- 15. Clairol – Does she or doesn't she?
- 16. Coca-Cola – Open happiness
- 17. De Beers – A diamond is forever
- 18. Disneyland – The happiest place on earth
- 19. Dunkin' Donuts – America runs on Dunkin'
- 20. Energizer – It keeps going… and going… and going
- 21. Facebook – Move fast and break things
- 22. Fed-Ex - When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight
- 23. Frosted Flakes – They're grrrrrrreat!
- 24. Gatorade – Is it in you?
- 25. Geico – So easy a caveman can do it
- 26. General Electric – We bring good things to life
- 27. Google – Don't be evil
- 28. John Deere – Nothing runs like a deer
- 29. Kay Jewelers – Every kiss begins with Kay
- 30. Kentucky Fried Chicken – Finger lickin' good
- 31. Lexus – The relentless pursuit of perfection
- 32. L'Oreal – Because you're worth it
- 33. Lay's Potato Chips – Betcha can't eat just one
- 34. M&Ms – Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
- 35. Maxwell House – Good to the last drop
- 36. McDonald's – I'm lovin' it
- 37. Morton Salt – When it rains, it pours
- 38. Nike – Just do it
- 39. Pepsi – The choice of a new generation
- 40. Rice Krispies – Snap! Crackle! Pop!
- 41. Skittles – Taste the rainbow
- 42. Sprite – Obey your thirst
- 43. Timex – Takes a licking and keeps on ticking
- 44. Trix Cereal – Trix are for kids
- 45. United Airlines – Fly the friendly skies
- 46. UPS – What can brown do for you?
- 47. Verizon Mobile – Can you hear me now?
- 48. Volkswagen – Think small
- 49. Wendy's – Where's the beef?
- 50. Wheaties – The breakfast of champions
The slogans featured here are extremely popular and can be recalled by customers with little thought. Some are better than others, but no matter what, they are the slogans that people know. While some companies have multiple slogans, or change theirs over time, these are the ones that are forever cemented in popular culture.
The best slogans in history are not only popular, but also marked by a timeless appeal that's hard to replicate. Some are serious in tone, while others are more lighthearted and fun. The top advertising slogans of all time are:
- 1. Nike – Just Do It
- 2. Apple – Think Different
- 3. Wendy's – Where's the Beef?
- 4. Coca-Cola – Open Happiness
- 5. L'Oreal – Because You're Worth It
- 6. M&Ms – Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands
- 7. De Beers – A Diamond is Forever
- 8. Wheaties – The Breakfast of Champions
- 9. Dunkin' Donuts – America Runs on Dunkin'
- 10. Verizon – Can You Hear Me Now?
Nike - Just Do It
History: "Just Do It" has a dark history that starts in Utah State Prison, where 36-year-old Gary Gilmore was on death row. Nike's ad exec at the time, Dan Wieden, thought the brand needed a tagline for their next campaign and remembered Gilmore's final words: "Let's do it." He fused the phrase with Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, and the rest is part of advertising history.
Impact: Colin Kaepernick, the football star behind the "take a knee" controversy, became the face of Nike's campaign in 2018. This elevated the slogan from just a selling point for the brand to a bona fide political statement.
Apple – Think Different
History: Steven Spielberg, Sting, and many other creative people were using Apple products when the brand was in need of a new slogan. This prompted ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day to come up with a phrase that marketed to individuals who had bold visions and daring thoughts.
Impact: Steve Jobs mentioned "Think Different" in his presentation at an expo called Macworld. His words had a huge impact on the audience, causing Apple to become one of the bestselling brands of all time.
Wendy's – Where's the Beef?
History: Clare Peller is the famous old lady who critically asked, "Where's the beef?" in the original ad, which was created by New York agency Kaplan Thaler Group. The slogan has gone on to become a popular idiom that's used when anything, not just hamburgers, is lacking substance.
Impact: "Where's the beef?" was such a hit that Wendy's made mugs, t-shirts, and beach towels featuring the signature phrase. It also led to a record $76.2 million in sales the following year.
Coca-Cola – Open Happiness
History: Coca-Cola is a brand of many slogans, but "Open Happiness" is the one that best represents the digital age of marketing. The campaign debuted during Super Bowl XLIII and quickly went viral, showing a series of vending machine hacks in a variety of locations, from a college campus in New York to a mall in Pakistan.
Impact: In a world consumed by social media, "Open Happiness" had a significant impact. The campaign's Facebook page ended up getting over 50 million likes before the slogan was replaced with "Taste the Feeling."
L'Oreal – Because You're Worth It
History: Joanne Dusseau was the first model to use "Because you're worth it" in a L'Oreal ad, and since then, it has become a strong feminist statement. The tagline was written by 23-year-old copywriter Ilon Specht of a marketing agency called Third Avenue in New York City.
Impact: In 2012, L'Oreal Paris USA released a mini documentary about the history of their slogan. The company's CEO, the original spokesmodel, and even Beyoncé Knowles talk about the empowerment behind the campaign.
M&Ms – Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands
History: Ted Bates & Co., an advertising firm in Chicago, came up with this trademark slogan. The first commercial to use the phrase showed a man hiding M&Ms in his hands and then uttering the famous words. At that point, the milk chocolate candies had already been on the market for over 10 years!
Impact: "Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands" was voted America's favorite slogan in 2014. The phrase highlights a unique factor of M&M's, their colorful protective shell.
De Beers – A Diamond Is Forever
History: Frances Gerety, a copywriter with N.W. Ayer, wrote "A Diamond is Forever" to highlight the emotional impact of receiving a ring. At the time, women were hired to write ads for only products designed for women.
Impact: The Great Depression caused sales to be down for diamonds in the early 1930's. The campaign completely turned things around, and by 1951, 80% of brides in the United States wore a diamond created by the company.
Wheaties- The Breakfast of Champions
History: Knox Reeves, an ad exec from Minnesota, coined the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" to go along with the cereal's sponsorship of a minor league team in Minnesota. From there, athletes like Lou Gehrig, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson made an appearance on the box.
Impact: The Wheaties brand was praised for featuring strong role models on their packaging and encouraging kids to be active. It's no wonder collectors are willing to pay as high as $100 for an original box!
Dunkin' Donuts – America Runs on Dunkin'
History: Hill Holliday, a creative agency in Boston, came up with "American Runs on Dunkin'" to reflect the working population's need for a caffeine fix. The campaign was all over the place that year, showing up in 16 commercials, 9 radio spots, and in print advertising.
Impact: Dunkin' Donuts may have changed their slogan to "Keep On" in 2016, but their original slogan is what catapulted them to stardom. In fact, 6 months after the campaign's debut, Dunkin' was selling about 2.7 million cups of coffee per day!
Verizon – Can You Hear Me Now?
History: Paul Macarelli became famous for uttering 5 words for Verizon – "Can you hear me now?" The slogan was created by a New York ad agency called Bozell, and was such a success, that Verizon invested about $400 million the next year on the campaign.
Impact: In a strange twist, Marcarelli went on to be the spokesperson for Sprint. Still, consumers will forever remember the solid cell service you get working with Verizon because of his impactful words.
According to The Journal of Business Research, a good slogan has a clear message, is creative, and elicits familiarity with the brand. Not to mention, it should be hitting on these major points:
Highlights a benefit your company has to offer
Short, sweet, and to the point
Rhythmic enough to become a jingle
Evokes an emotion
Can be reused time and time again
A slogan should express a million things in only 4 or 5 words, while at the same time being catchy enough to be turned into a jingle and memorable enough to make an impact. It's a tricky formula to crack, but you can make it happen with some time, effort, and a really awesome marketing team!
The Bottom Line
There are a million companies out there, so you need to do whatever it takes to create a lasting impression. Your value as a business can be summed up in a few catchy words, so just listen to Frosted Flakes when it comes to slogans - "they're grrrreat!'
Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.
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