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Take Your Advertising Cues From these 5 Iconic Ad Slogans

What are the components of a good slogan? Read on for a few examples that'll stand the test of time.

Rebecca Wojno
September 19 2019

Think of “Just do it” or “I’m loving it.” Instantly, we know which brand is behind these slogans. And that’s point. A great slogan is much more than a concise way of expressing what the company is all about, and it’s certainly not just a sentence akin to the mission statement. Great slogans stick with us when they create a connection deeper than mere product preferences. 

Keep these 5 examples of iconic ad slogans in mind when planning this fundamental branding piece. 

1. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” – State Farm 

State Farm created their slogan to represent how they’ll approach insurance like being a good neighbor; one who’s there for you whenever you need them, look after your family and home when needed, and ready to jump in and help when crises arrive.  

State Farm’s slogan conjures up those wholesome values, good morals, and community vibes. Though they’ve since rebranded, they’ll always be known as the ‘good neighbor’ whether there’s a crisis or not.  

2. I NY – Empire State Development Services  

Designer Milton Glaser created this now ubiquitous phrase in 1977 to promote New York State tourism and represent the state’s 11 vacation regions. Glaser, who submitted his design pro bono, refused to copyright the design after learning it would only run for a few months. Aside from creating a logo appealed to all kinds of New Yorkers and happy visitors, Glaser wanted his free art to become part of the city’s iconography. 

42 years later, it’s become NY’s official slogan.  

Chris Lowery, president and chief strategist of Chase Design Group said that the design has lasting power thanks to its simple messaging. “In a diverse, multicultural city like New York, anyone who saw it instantly knew what it meant.” 

3. What Happens Here, Stays Here – Las Vegas Conventions And Visitor’s Authority  

Much like the I Love NY logo, Las Vegas’ now infamous tagline began as a way to promote travel to Sin City and reinforce the promise of adult freedom. Since its unveiling in 2003, the phrase was referenced by numerous pop culture and arts entities such as:  Saturday Night Live, Meet the Press, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, the Academy Awards. 

In 2006, then-First-Lady, Laura Bush, uttered the tagline while speaking with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. One USA Today survey named the campaign the “most effective” of 2003.  

Nowadays, the slogan feelsfor many—Controversial with #MeToo and the shooting in Las Vegas, but initially, it was meant to capture the free-spirited nature of the city. 

4. The happiest place on Earth – Disneyland  

Slogans should further emphasize a brand’s mission statement. Here’s Disney’s“We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.” 

A little background on Disney’s MO from Walt Disney himself as he opened Disneyland in 1955: “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” 

Though many aren’t familiar with this exact quote, the mission statement and slogan reinforce one another to create a cohesive glimpse into what Disney’s all about. 

5. “Taste the Rainbow” — Skittles 

Masterfoods USA paired the tagline “Taste the rainbow” with commercials featuring fantasy worlds to entice teens to reach for the bag of skittles. Though many commercials featured magical creatures, rainbows, and Skittles showers, the brand continuously updates their commercials to target each generation of teens.  

Gerry Graf, Executive Creative Director at advertising company, TBWA, remarked that their slogan and chosen theme is one of their greatest assets: “One of Skittles’ great equities has always been the fantasy and the magic of the rainbow.”  

TL;DR: What do all these slogans have in common? 

  • Structure-wise, they are all succinct and clear. No tangled sentences 
  • They all have one word that tells you what the brand is all about, and it’s consistent with the brand’s values/image. “(is) there”, “love”, “Happens”, “happiest”, and “Taste” all tell you something very basic about the brand. 
  • They consider that target market – all of these iconic slogans cater to specific demographics, whether it’s teenagers, tourists or native New Yorkers, or those seeking a rambunctious getaway in the middle of a Nevada desert. 
  • They’re TIMELESS; the company may rebrand, eras come and go, but the message will stay relevant culturally 
  • They’re also tied to strong visuals and at times—memories. Everyone remembers the first or last time they visited a Disney theme park. Or the State Farm jingle, that stays in your head even after you’ve turned the TV off. 
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Rebecca Wojno

Rebecca is a marketing content writer and copy editor. Aside from writing about the importance of customer retention, she spends her time searching for good Mexican food and watching "Suits" reruns.

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