What Makes Some Slogans More Memorable than Others

Dec 19, 2017 | Brand Differentiation

Memorable slogans are crafted for the ear. Once you’ve heard the phrase a couple of times you can easily recall and repeat it:

  • Timex: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking
  • M&M’s: Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
  • Bounty: The quicker picker upper

These slogans connect in your brain in a way that average slogans do not:

  • Nissan: Innovation that excites
  • Toshiba: Leading innovation
  • Fujifilm: Value from innovation

Average slogans aren’t bad, but they’re not memorable. It’s like these phrases were created to fit a perceived marketing obligation, “All brands have slogans, right?”

Branding to an obligation is an exercise in compromise. Companies end up using pretty words that say nothing. Memorable slogans, on the other hand, are crafted with purpose. They’re phrases designed to convey a clear idea in a compelling way.

Memorable Slogans Convey Meaning

Slogans without meaning are not memorable.

Nissan’s slogan is “Innovation that excites.” This looks like a sentence. It’s phonetically correct, but what does it mean?

Laura Ries argues in her new book Battlecry, “Many marketing campaigns, especially corporate campaigns, depend almost exclusively on abstraction … Premium-quality products, customer-oriented sales force, state-of-the-art technology and world-class service.”

Abstract words are pure puffery. The phrases tend to sound good, but they lack concrete ideas for your brain to associate meaning.

Abstract words counter the effectiveness of a slogan, because your brain discards statements that lack meaning.

Memorable slogans are clear, concrete statements:

  • Avis: We try harder
  • Folgers: The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup
  • Miller Lite: Tastes great, less filling

The slogan conveys something meaningful, and that helps your brain file the slogan in your long term memory.

Memorable Slogans Delight and Surprise

Memorable slogans possess great copywriting:

  • KFC: Finger lickin’ good
  • US Army: Be all you can be
  • LVCVA: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

These slogans are like little poems. Using rhymes and alliterations can make slogans unforgettable.

Other slogans stick in your mind because they capture a truth about the customer experience:

  • BMW: The ultimate driving machine
  • De Beers: A diamond is forever
  • Nike: Just Do It

Whether through rhyme or revelation, memorable slogans capture the essence of the brand with brilliant language.

Memorable Slogans Make Competitors Irrelevant

Creating an unforgettable slogan has the power to transform a brand:

  • The Just Do It campaign took Nike from 18% to 43% market share in 10 years.
  • A Diamond Is Forever catapulted De Beers sales by 55% in 3 years.
  • The Ultimate Driving Machine took BMW from the 11th largest European import brand in the United States to the #1 luxury car brand.

Memorable slogans stick in your customers’ minds, and this makes the competition irrelevant.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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