Here’s a little secret Madison Avenue doesn’t want anyone to know …
Slogans are losers. They don’t sell.
At least, most of them don’t sell. I ran across an article from USA Today I saved back in 2003 on this topic and it cited a consumer survey on whether people recognized the slogans of some of the biggest marketers in the U.S. The results were depressing.
Out of 22 supposedly “famous” tag lines, “only six were recognized by more than 10% of those surveyed — this for companies spending more than $100 million a year on ads.”
When you dig deeper into the results, it gets worse.
Slogans from three prominent advertisers scored 0% recognition, including Circuit City (We’re with you), Kmart (The stuff of life) and Staples (That was easy).
Billions of dollars spent on advertising, much of it devoted to dreaming up clever slogans, and apparently most of it never registers.
Not all slogans fail. Wal-Mart scored 64% recognition with it’s “Always low prices. Always” tagline. But then, Wal-Mart is in a whole different league than most businesses.
So why do most slogans flop? Some say consumers are too smart to fall for fluff and bull. I agree, considering the emptiness and irrelevance of most taglines. I mean, what the heck does “The stuff of life” mean, anyway?
The bottom line is that writing slogans is the same as writing any copy. A slogan has to say something relevant and meaningful. My guess is that Wal-Mart’s “Always low prices” slogan works because it’s true and descriptive. Most slogans are just nice sounding words from companies who don’t have any distinguishing features, such as low prices or better products.
There may be another reason. Slogans have to be short, but not all ideas can be expressed in three to five words. So maybe some companies just aren’t slogan-worthy.
What do you think?