Tips to create catchy phrases used in marketing materials

Funny thing. On January 21, someone "Googled" the keywords, "tips to create catchy phrases used in marketing materials," and landed on my blog. 

(This tidbit of information, by the way, came to me via Google's "Dashboard Analytics" service, a service which happens to be free to blogspot.com users.) 

Anyway ...

Not sure if that someone found what they were looking for - however, what a great idea for a post! So thanks for the idea whoever you were. And should you happen to come back anytime soon, here are a few tips to help you out.

1) Catchy advertising phrases are often spin-offs of common colloquial phrases, cliches or popular slang.

It's easier to remember a new phrase if it's like one you already know very well. Examples:

Trans World Airways once used the slogan, "Sight for Soaring Eyes" - a spin-off of the cliche "sight for sore eyes."

Consider the Ralston Purina Pet Food slogan, "All you add is love." How close is that to words in the Beatles popular 1960s song, "All you need is love"? Or Nortel's slogan, "Come together" - compared to the Beatles line, "Come together, right now ... over me"?

Geek Squad used "I heart nerds," which is a twist of the "I heart ____(anything - fill in the blank)" colloquial phrase. That phrase, by the way, became insanely popular following the
"I love NY" tourism campaign which began in 1977, with a red heart transposed for the word "love" in the logo version.

Apple Computers used "Think outside the box," a phrase that was extremely popular in the business world in the 1990's. Taco Bell changed it to "Think outside the bun." 

Syntel used "Consider IT done," a phrase we all know - but changed the "it" to "IT" (eye-tee - as in "Information Technology").

And don't forget Morton's Salt - "When it rains, it pours." A great slogan because damp weather often makes salt hard to pour out of the salt shaker. 

2) When in doubt, rhyme.

Click here for a FREE online rhyming Dictionary, if you need help. Then you can create slogans like:

"Once you go Mac. You'll never go back." - Apple Computers
"Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, CoverGirl" - CoverGirl
"Once you pop, the fun don't stop." - Pringles 
"Ore-Ida! It's all-righta!" - Ore-Ida
"Leggo my Eggo" - Eggo Waffles

3) Compare and contrast.

"Pork, the other white meat." - Pork council
People were shunning red meat when this slogan came out, so white meat was something people WANTED. And the thing that came to mind mostly when you said "white meat" was chicken, not pork ... thus the slogan's effectiveness.

"The uncola" - 7-Up
What you don't want - cola. What you do want - 7-Up?
Kind of sounds like an "uncool" soda, though - but hey, the brand went with this in the 1970's anyway. 

"We're number 2. We try harder." - Avis
People love underdogs. 

Well, I could go on and on - but I've got work to do. So I'll leave you with my best advice ...

Just look at a bunch of famous slogans - you can find long lists of them online. And do a little "deconstructive" thinking about them. What makes them catchy to you? Does it sound like something you've heard before? Does it rhyme? And start noticing trends in slogans - how one famous slogan does something similar to another famous slogan. Count the number of words, the way the slogan plays with spelling or punctuation, and see if you can spot trends.

In the early 2000's, it was popular for companies to have taglines that were three words, each followed by a period, like:

"Live. Laugh. Love."
"Experience. Strength. Reliability."


What's. Funny. Now. 
A reverse trend. People have started writing like this in their own non-commercial communications. I've. Seen. It. On. Many. Blogs. 



Sabina said...

Great info - thanks Cindy!!

Anonymous said...

this is great advice. i love it! thanks.

Tamara said...

It is indeed true that catchy slogans win the interest. I remember when i was about 8 a slogan that a 'septic company had. I was no way interested in the sewage business but the phrase "we pump what our competetion talks" just stands out in my memory up to now:)

jacob said...

Love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.
Great article and discussion!
online marketing

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the topic, it's good and nice and your words are healthy that catchy slogan win the interest.
web design company: Web Art Sense

Anonymous said...
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searchrounds said...

Cindy this is a great article on the topic "slogans"
choosing the best topic for writing :) and get more visitors
SEO Company India

Anonymous said...

thanku 4 the info!!!

Chicago Graphic Design said...

ha! I love the last part. I've seen so many three word slogans it's not even funny. Thanks for the tips love.

South Asian Marketing said...
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