Should companies use slogans, yay or ney?

If someone said to you, think of a slogan, I’m sure you could real off a range of catchy and punchy straplines from a wide variety of companies, which shows that they clearly do their job. So what is it that makes a good slogan? Something that is memorable? Witty? Funny?

I thought it would be a good idea to explore the pros and cons of advertising slogans and give examples of when they have really worked and when they have gone horribly wrong.

I bet you can all guess the following brands just by their advertising slogans (answers at the end if not!):

  • The best a man can get
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop!
  • It’s a bit of an animal!
  • Just do it
  • Where do you want to go today?
  • Every Little Helps

The above slogans have been around for years and are still used today, making them great examples of how advertising slogans can really promote brand awareness.

A successful slogan acts as a resolution and makes sense of the whole advert. It is catchy, distinctive and creative – it evokes a memorable image or inspires a new way of thinking about a brand.

There are some proven ways for brands to ensure that they are maximising memorability. Common techniques include alliteration (“lick the lid of life”), repetition (“making the unmissable unmissable”) or rhyme (“Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it”). These techniques make the strapline amusing and easy to recall.

According to Millward Brown (2011), slogans are most likely to be remembered when they are included in a jingle. The best-remembered slogans fall into a number of categories. A simple slogan can be effective if it is relevant and meaningful. In Slovakia, the people from the Šariš region are renowned for their warmth, friendliness, and sense of humour. So the beer brand Šariš has succeeded with a slogan that communicates this regional pride: “Šariš Srdcom vychodniar” (“Šariš, heart of Easterners”).

The iconic Kit Kat slogan is one that has stood the test of time. Used in both printed and television adverts, the “Have a Break…” It is simple, and easy to remember – much like the company’s red and white branding.

However what happens when a slogan becomes misinterpreted and causes controversy for the brand. An example of this involved Austrian based company Red Bull who have the well-known slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.”

Back in October of this year, a man called Benjamin Careathers, took Red Bull to court over the legitimacy of its slogan and he won. Red Bull settled his claim to the tune of a staggering $13m.


Another example of where a slogan has been misinterpreted was back in the 1960s when Electrolux released a new vacuum cleaning product with the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

Released in Britain, where ‘suck’ is a term that means to imbibe or to consume, the ad was successful and the slogan went unjudged. However when the advert was broadcasted in the States and the results weren’t quite the same.


Another argument that has been put forward is that slogans do not depict the real perception of a brand. Below are some examples of what people really think of the products and brands take from if slogans told the truth:




It is evident at times that slogans have been dismissed as an effective component for product branding. However it appears that we need slogans in our society to make brands more easily recognisable to the consumer.

The main purpose of slogans, is to enhance the image of a brand, and to provide the consumer with a window into the promises of what your brand can deliver to them and to trigger brand recall in the customer’s mind.

Brands want their company to go global and in order to do this they need to ensure that their message and slogan is translated into a language that its audience can understand. However it is paramount that the translation is correct and in the right context.

Here a few ‘slogans gone wrong’ to make you laugh on a Monday:
1) The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are you lactating?”
2) Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read “Suffer From Diarrhoea.”
3) Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick”.
4) Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
5) Pepsi’s “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave” in Chinese.

It would seem that slogans are no doubt beneficial in raising awareness of a brand, giving it an identity and making it memorable. However inventing the catchy jingle is far from an easy task and, as we have seen, when it goes wrong it can be monumentally damaging for the brand!


  • The best a man can get – Gillette
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop! – Rice Krispies
  • It’s a bit of an animal! – Peperami
  • Just do it – Nike
  • Where do you want to go today? – Microsoft
  • Every Little Helps – Tesco

Rebecca Murphy

PR Account Manager


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