A good tagline is a lot like a good logo. It’s unique and catchy, helping your brand stand out from the crowd.
But taglines can travel further than logos can. Listen carefully the next time you’re in a public place or family gathering. Chances are someone will use a popular tagline in conversation.
Who hasn’t used Verizon’s famous “Can you hear me now?” line in a phone call?
Or said the California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” slogan when asking for a glass of milk at dinner?
Or referred to Disneyland as “The Happiest Place on Earth?”
Business slogans like these have a way of slipping into our lingo in a way that a logo just can’t. So as you start thinking about writing a catchphrase of your own, let’s explore what a tagline is – and how to come up with tagline ideas for your business.
What is a tagline?
A tagline is a phrase that captures your brand’s mission statement in just a few punchy words. Businesses use their taglines everywhere: their website, social media hashtags, commercials, and marketing campaigns, for starters.
You’ll often hear a tagline at the end of a TV ad. As the final thing you hear, it’s likely to stick in your mind. This Home Depot ad, for example, ends with the brand’s new tagline: “How Doers Get More Done.”
And like so many before it, this new Kay Jewelers ad ends with the company’s memorable tagline, “Every Kiss Begins With Kay.”
A great tagline should be unique, relevant, and easy to remember.
Are taglines worth it?
We ran a PickFu poll to see how important taglines are to customers. Is it really worth your time to create a company slogan to go with your company name and logo?
Here’s what we asked: “When you’re shopping, does a brand with a memorable business tagline stand out to you more than one without a tagline or slogan? Why or why not?”
Many respondents confirmed what we suspected: taglines help a brand stick in the target audience’s memory. They’re not necessarily a factor that influences purchases – not like product quality, price, or durability.
One respondent said that taglines matter “because creativity matters to me and shows me that a company is really trying.” He added, “taglines tend to make companies more popular if they catch on.”
Another respondent noted that taglines and slogans “become synonymous with the brand.” He said, “Every time I say ‘just do it’ for any reason, Nike pops into my head.”
The more a brand pops into your head, the more likely you are to have that brand at the forefront of your mind when you shop.
As a third respondent put it, “[A catchy tagline] causes me to randomly think of the brand, making me more likely to crave buying it.”
And finally, a female respondent summed up the most important point about taglines: “A good tagline can help you bring an instant picture in your mind of the product. The trick is people must have positive emotions to go with it.”
One great example of this is the M&M slogan: “It melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” Trademarked in 1954, this tagline is still synonymous with M&Ms today. It’s catchy. It tells us why M&Ms are superior to other types of chocolate.
All in just eight words.
So a tagline is an important tool in your marketing strategies toolbox. Let’s look at some of the most well-known taglines and why people like them (or not).
The most popular brand slogans
When you’re brainstorming tagline ideas, look for inspiration in the greats. We ran a poll to compare four popular taglines. Our question to the target audience was this: “Which of these taglines is the most memorable/powerful to you, and why?”
Here are the four taglines:
- Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” – Option A
- De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” – Option B
- Dunkin’ Donuts’ “America Runs on Dunkin’” – Option C
- Bounty’s “The Quicker Picker Upper” – Option D
According to our pool of 50 respondents, Bounty wins the title of having the most powerful tagline.
But all four of the slogans garnered votes.
Here’s what respondents had to say about each one.
Option A: “Let’s Go Places” – Toyota
Of the four taglines we tested, “Let’s Go Places” is the newest one. Toyota debuted it in 2012 with the vision that it would “invite consumers on a journey to see new places, discover new possibilities and dream big dreams together with Toyota.”
Because it’s fairly new, it lacks the nostalgia the other three taglines have. But five of our respondents still ranked it as their number-one choice.
This is what they said:
- “[Option A] gives a sense of exploration and mystery.”
- “I like to go places so this one is more memorable to me. It would also make me think about looking at Toyota for my next car.”
- “I like how it says let’s go places. That gets my attention still.”
That said, many respondents didn’t even recognize Toyota’s tagline. One respondent pointed out that there are plenty of other, catchier car slogans and taglines that compete with “Let’s Go Places.” (BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” comes to mind.) In other words, it’s not all that memorable—even though it sounds exciting and fun. It’s just a little too generic to stick.
One respondent even had a suggestion to improve Toyota’s tagline: “Toyota is known for their longevity. They last a long time. A lot of people keep them up to 200,000 miles. I think the saying should be related to that.”
Are you listening, Toyota marketing department?! We think that’s pretty genius.
Option B: “A Diamond is Forever” – De Beers
Back in 1947, a copywriter at a marketing agency came up with the slogan, “A Diamond is Forever” for De Beers. Even though De Beers, at the time, was only a diamond mining company—not yet a jeweler—the slogan propelled diamonds into the limelight.
Almost instantly, diamonds became synonymous with love.
But in the 2020s, the De Beers slogan gets more flak than praise. Sure, some people still like it. After all, six people gave Option B the number-one spot, and they said things like:
- “Option B is the most powerful because it has taken what is essentially a stone that has no value (aside from industrial cutting and grinding) other than its shininess and has turned it into a cultural phenomenon.”
- “This reminds me of Marilyn Monroe and I think about it often.”
- “[The tagline in Option B] makes me feel like the product can last a long time.”
However, other respondents leveled sharp criticism not only at the slogan but also at De Beers. One female respondent in the 45-54 age range said, “‘A diamond is forever’ is very iconic, but I have negative associations with De Beers and the diamond industry in general.”
For others, the phrase was simply too forgettable. After all, it’s not the 1940s anymore. We’ve seen catchier, more powerful taglines, and any new tagline idea will need to compete.
Option C: “America Runs on Dunkin’” – Dunkin’ Donuts
With 14 first-place votes, Option C got second place in our poll. The reasons our respondents gave were interesting, to say the least:
- “America Runs on Dunkin’ [is] a bold statement and it is kind of true because Americans love coffee.”
- “I love Dunkin’ and always will think of this tagline whenever I think about donuts of any restaurant.”
- “I have seen Dunkin’ Donut commercials for a long time. I remember this jingle all the time.”
One particularly patriotic respondent said he liked the tagline because it appeared to support, well, America.
But here’s the catch: Dunkin’ Donuts is far from an American-only brand. And one of our pollsters even said they “do not like the implication that people in other countries would not eat these donuts.”
It’s a good point. Because there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts presence in Lebanon. There are a whopping 800 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the Phillippines and over 500 in Saudi Arabia. New Zealand has about 20 locations.
So, in other words…it’s not just America that runs on Dunkin’. And considering the increasingly tense geopolitical climate, bringing country names into any slogan or tagline probably isn’t the best idea anyway.
Option D: “The Quicker Picker Upper” – Bounty
It turns out that several of our respondents have great childhood memories of seeing Bounty commercials. Some had seen the commercials so many times that they could see the ads in their mind just by reading the words, “The Quicker Picker Upper.”
For almost as long as The Quicker Picker Upper has been the paper towel company’s slogan, the ads have shown the same thing.
A single Bounty paper towel cleaning up a mess with one quick swipe.
This is what our respondents had to say about Bounty:
- “[Option D is] very nostalgic from my childhood.”
- “‘The Quicker Picker Upper’ hits me the most. It’s catchy and fun, not too serious, but is very nostalgic, I remember it from my childhood and it’s still around today.”
- “The Quicker Picker Upper – is a catchy tongue-twister that has a practical purpose in the title. When hearing the name, one can see the liquid being mopped up.”
The key here? Pick a slogan idea that’s catchy, fun, and informative and pair it with a great ad.
Other great tagline examples
Even though we only tested four taglines with our PickFu poll, there are plenty of other amazingly catchy slogans out there.
Some of our favorites include:
- KFC’s “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good”
- Dollar Shave Club’s “Shave time. Shave money.”
- Lays’ “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”
- Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better.”
- General Electric’s “Imagination at Work”
- New York State’s “I Love New York.”
- Red Bull’s “Red Bull Gives You Wings”
A good tagline becomes part of your brand identity. Even better if it can evolve as society does. Take L’Oreal, for example. Their tagline was originally, “Because I’m Worth It.” Ads exclusively featured women.
But in 2023, L’Oreal updated its tagline to “Because We’re All Worth It” and featured a male in an ad for the first time in the company’s history.
If your slogan can do heavy lifting like this, then you’ve got a winner on your hands.
Examples of bad taglines (and how to avoid them)
We always love exploring certain, ahem, failures in the business world. And there have been many brand taglines that were short, somewhat unique, and even memorable—but for all the wrong reasons.
Like Reebok Germany’s “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.” Just…no.
Or ampm’s clunky “Imagine more snacks than you can imagine.” Um…ok? And how many snacks would that be, exactly?
Or Dr. Pepper’s misogynistic “It’s not for women” campaign, which ran in the dinosaur days of…2011.
Or McDonald’s sad attempt at tapping the munchies market: “Open your snack hole.” Please for the love of everything everywhere stick to I’m Lovin’ It, McDonald’s.
Studying cringe-worthy failures is enlightening, to say the least. Not enough people reviewed these taglines before they went out into the world. But you can.
PickFu can save you from creating a boring or super-cringe slogan. With a quick open-ended poll, you can get honest feedback on a tagline idea.
Our guide to writing an epic tagline can get you started.