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Your Tagline: The Most Important Ad You'll Ever Create


Freelance Copywriter Kimberley Freeman

Freelance Copywriter Kimberley Freeman

A really great tagline conveys a company's benefit with personality and attitude and the most memorable taglines connect on an emotional level.

In the 1950s, ad agencies called them "slogans." You may have heard them referred to as a catchphrase, marketing line, or even trademark line, but these days, the standard term is tagline (or "tag line" written as two words). Despite the terminology, we're still talking about a short phrase that tells your audience what you offer.

My favorite projects as a freelance copywriter include writing taglines. Twelve years ago, I earned the name Tagqueen in ad school because classmates and teachers said I was great at coming up with "the perfect tag" for any product. Since I've become somewhat of an expert on writing taglines, I'll devote this article to showing you what makes some taglines more effective than others.

What Makes them Tick & What Makes Them Stick

Many famous taglines are basically an evocative, inspiring call to action:

  • Just Do It
  • Think Different
  • Reach out and touch someone
  • Put a Tiger in Your Tank

Tagline writers use about ten standard methods for concepting tagline ideas. To launch a brainstorming session, the following five are a good start. Note the example next to each method, and see if you can remember the company for each tagline.

1. Link a product feature with an abstract need:

A Diamond is Forever.

2. Make a promise:

The World on Time.

3. Single words (always good in threes) as benefits:

Soothes. Cleanses. Refreshes.

4. Suggest risk of not using product:

Because So Much is Riding on your Tires.

5. Tie tagline to logo:

Get a Piece of the Rock.

Taglines as Brand Builders
Taglines are the first step and an integral part of brand building. Their value builds for years, and over time, a good tagline can be your best and least expensive form of advertising. If your company name, logo and tagline are all working together as they should, they become an ad in and of themselves.

No matter what your company does, your tagline creates a first impression. People will remember a tag phrase even before a company name. Having years of equity built up in an old tagline can work for or against you. Is the phrase you're using "dated?" Are people tired of hearing it - or worse, no longer believing the claim?

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