The Blake Project did a nice post yesterday on their Branding Strategy Insider blog, sharing insights about effective taglines that “communicate the brand’s ‘unique value proposition’ powerfully, succinctly, and memorably,” I’d encourage you to check it out, here.

I couldn’t help but notice there was only one fast food restaurant tagline on their list of “effective” taglines: KFC’s “Finger-licking-good” tagline; and on their list of “ineffective” ones, only one restaurant tagline appeared: Denny’s “A good place to sit and eat.” 

As you may recall, a couple of years back, I had quite a bit of fun with a variety of apparently “effective” fast food taglines, prompted by McDonald’s adoption and use of the “Who’s Your Patty?” tagline, already in use by a local hamburger joint in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And, last year, I had about as much fun juxtaposing a few different retail jewelry store taglines, here.

What I’m left wondering is, how effective can a tagline be, if it includes the brand name or house mark as part of the tagline?

Isn’t that cheating on creativity?

For what it’s worth, none of the “effective” taglines identified by The Blake Project included the brand name as part of the tagline, and one “ineffective” one did.

  • Mark Gunnion

    Generally speaking, repeating the name in the tagline is considered to be wasting space, as the tagline should reinforce and expand the promise of the brand, and not just repeat it, since it will almost always be seen alongside the main name. However, I think the Arby’s example is a viable exception, because it’s really offering an “argument” for the brand, and gives the consumer language which should contribute to sales. “Where are we going to eat?” is one of the oldest human questions, and giving potential customers the very words to say when the question comes up seems a very effective strategy.

  • Ulrich Meissner

    Two very successful examples from Germany:
    One of the most renowned and succcessful taglines is “Haribo macht Kinder froh / Und Erwach’sne ebenso”, Haribo being the leading Gummibear brand; the US translation is: “Kids and grown-ups love it so / The happy world of Haribo”. It is rhyming and chanted to a distinct signature tune.

    There is also “Wenn’s um’s Geld geht Sparkasse” with Sparkassen being the local savings banks or thrifts. Again there is a tune that goes with it. Both have been arounf for ages and are very successful. With the latter, the tune is often used by itself but you will automatically recall the words…

    Both have been around for decades and still work.

  • Bill Schroeder

    I think Steven is spot on. The issue isn’t should you or shouldn’t you. It’s how strong is it in helping to communicate the brand promise, point of differentiation, relevance to the customer and how memorable is it, etc. I work with several professional services clients and they tend to fall on one side of the tagline fence or the other: (1) we want a tagline that says what we do, e.g., “an international law firm”; and (2) we don’t want a tagline because it will sound too “marketing” and not professional enough. The key to successful tagline is in saying something unique, relevant and authentic aboout your organization. With that in mind, something like “a global accounting firm” is a waste in the ever-increasing demand for your customer’s attention. But I digress…

  • Lieba Golden-Koulendros

    Steven, I totally agree!

    when i worked on WellsFargo’s new tagline, i played with the name as a way to link to the strength of their longer-than-the-recent-bank-disaster heritage. ‘Go Far, Go Well’ was a bit too crafty/obvious, additionally we wanted to highlight wfb’s connection with the customer (connection with Wachovia too), signal looking ahead, and reference their image criteria. the result: ‘Together We’ll Go Far.’

    in other words, i think the brand name can be rich creative territory to explore while generating a tagline.

  • Stuart Warren

    Hmmm, tagline or slogan? I’d always go with the ‘less is more’ approach but if a tagline works and adds value to a brands memorability then why not? Sometimes a tagline (with or without the company name) can become a slogan or vice versa! It’s a grey area I think? Examples that spring to mind are “Better by Adobe” (Adobe); “Stronger than dirt” (Ajax); “Think different” (Apple); “Just do it” (Nike) and I think (I may be wrong?) but didn’t Heinz use “57 varieties” as their tagline?…

  • Piet van Praag

    A new client approached me trying to find differentiation in the auto parts category. The name of the company was “Spectre Performance”, specialists in speed parts and racing/world speed records. One of the first evolutionary changes I made was moving from the generic word “performance” to the direct benefit of “speed” – thus “Speed by Spectre” was born. This became the company’s brand promise and mantra, pushing every company effort and product to deliver on this promise, and in fact lead to the CEO himself setting the world speed record for a wheel driven car (415mph) on the Bonneville salt flats in 2010.

  • Manosh Sengupta

    ‘an Idea can change your life’. the tagline for one of the leading indian telecom brands: Idea Cellular. i was heading the brand when we launched it in 2002 and it continues to be in use today.
    the manner in which the brand name has been used to state the brand promise, in my mind, is highly effective.

  • Rhonda

    I think the tagline should enhance or further describe the name. its hard to say it all in a name.

  • Cindra

    I just stumbled on this, researching taglines. One of my favorite marketing strategies was an old commercial for SweetNLow, which used the name of a competitor (Equal) in their tagline: “For some, there’s just no equal.” I found this hilarious and effective, though ultimately its not a recommended tactic to use a competitors name. It ends up being the only bit remembered. In fact Im not sure it was SweetNLow, maybe it was Splenda. See what I mean?