How to Create Catchy Marketing Phrases

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. 



Kitty Kilian said...

Good post, but the letters are almost too small!

mtlb said...

The Uncola still could work for a few brands.

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