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how to write a memoirAre you struggling to think up a good tagline for your business? Taglines are one of the most important aspects of a successful brand, responsible for creating a theme and value system that shapes peoples’ perception of your business.

From statements about quality to persuasive reasons to sample a new product, good taglines come in all shapes and sizes. Read on to discover eight famous taglines that successfully defined their brands for decades.

Creating a memorable brand for your business is tough. From logos to taglines, learn the fundamentals of developing a brand that sends the best impression of your new business in our course, How to Brand Yourself and Your Business.

“We are only #2 so we try harder.” – Avis Rent A Car

In the early 1960s, Avis Rent A Car was the second-largest rental car company in the United States. Like any other ambitious company, it wanted to be first. When you’re in second place, you can’t pretend you’re the biggest – the market knows it isn’t true.

Instead of trying to frame itself as the largest car rental company in the country and capitalize in popularity, Avis tried a different strategy. In 1962, its famous tagline – penned by copywriter Paula Green – didn’t emphasize its size, but its work ethic.

Although Avis recently dropped the “We try harder” tagline after 50 years, it remains one of the most memorable – and most effective – corporate taglines in history. Who didn’t want to use a car rental company that tried harder than its competitors?

“I Love New York” – New York State

Referenced in hundreds of songs, movies and TV shows and emulated endlessly by other tourism boards around the world, “I Love New York” could be the best travel-related tagline in history.

Penned in 1977, the tagline couldn’t have come at a better time for New York. With the energy crisis and stagflation bringing much of New York City’s heavy industry to a halt, the tagline reinvigorated New York City as an American tourism destination.

From clothing to flags, posters to advertisements, the New York government made the most of the mega-successful tagline by printing it anywhere it could. More than three decades later, “I Love New York” remains as memorable as it was in the 1970s.

“There are some things money can’t buy…” – MasterCard

“…for everything else, there’s MasterCard.” While rival credit card company VISA may have a larger market share, MasterCard captured the minds – and business – of most of the public with its iconic tagline and advertising campaign.

Equal parts charming celebration of commerce and friendly joke, the “Priceless” ad campaign was one of the most successful financial marketing campaigns in recent history. It successfully branded MasterCard as the “friendly” credit card company.

Today, it’s impossible to think about MasterCard without remembering its famous tagline and humorous advertising. At a small cost, the company gained a far bigger mindshare than competitors like VISA and American Express.

MasterCard’s iconic tagline is an example of inexpensive branding producing a huge positive effect. Learn how to create your own iconic brand image at a low budget in our Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank course.

“Think Small” – Volkswagen

It was the late 1950s, and Volkswagen faced a difficult situation. Its famous Beetle was small, underpowered, rear-engined, aesthetically dated, and built by a team of engineers under the orders of the Nazi government in the 1930s.

A challenging product to market in prosperous, peaceful 1950s America, wouldn’t you say? Volkswagen succeeded by creating a tagline and ad campaign that turned the Beetle’s weaknesses into strengths: the iconic “Think Small” campaign.

Instead of being too small for a family, the Beetle was the perfect size to fit into a tight New York City parking space. Instead of being out of date, it was refined and updated only enough to provide the best combination of looks and reliability.

The campaign was an immense success, and Volkswagen used the slogan for more than three decades. A simple copywriting technique – turning weaknesses into key selling points – turned an otherwise unappealing product into a worldwide success.

Sometimes, creative copywriting is all it takes to make your product stand out from the crowd and become a hit. Learn the secrets to writing persuasive copy that your audience remembers in our Web Copywriting That Works course.

“Eat Fresh” – Subway

Rarely do fast food and freshness go hand in hand. With its “Eat Fresh” campaign, sandwich chain Subway branded itself as a fresher, healthier and better choice for eating on the go than competitors like McDonald’s and Burger King.

A change in perception is sometimes all that’s required to differentiate your brand from your competitors. Subway’s food preparation system isn’t that different from Burger King’s or KFC’s, but its branding makes customers perceive it differently.

“Intel Inside” – Intel

To most consumers, computer hardware parts are a commodity. Whichever offers the best combination of price and performance is the one to choose, at least to the majority of home computer customers during the 1990s.

Intel’s “Intel Inside” tagline set its lineup of processors apart from the rest. With a beautiful sticker on the outside of every case containing an Intel CPU, a processor made by Intel became more than just a commodity – it was a digital status symbol.

Today, Intel continues to enjoy a reputation as the high-end CPU brand, despite its products being largely equal to those offered by rivals like AMD. Even in industries where it’s all about quantitative value, branding still has a huge effect.

“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” – FedEx

When you need to ship a package cheaply, who do you choose? For most people, it’s the slowest and cheapest option available: the United States Postal Service. When it needs to get there quickly, however, FedEx is the only option worth considering.

Why? Because FedEx effectively branded itself as the fastest, more reliable shipping service with its “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” tagline in the late 1970s. Even today, the FedEx tagline – “The World on Time” – stresses punctual delivery before any other value.

FedEx’s relentless focus on branding itself as the fastest delivery service is a great example of positioning. Learn how to position your product as a leader in its niche with our Mastering Product Positioning course.

“Think Different” – Apple

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he immediately started changing the company’s image. At the time, Apple had transformed from the creative computer brand it was in the 1980s into a boring, uninspired manufacturer of generic PCs.

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign returned the brand to its roots by associating it with iconic thinkers like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Bob Dylan. The ad’s message was clear: Apple was the brand for people that thought differently.

More than a decade later, Apple’s computer hardware is the industry standard for designers, visual artists and animators. Despite the wider range of software for the Windows PC, Apple’s branding won it the loyalty of the creative industries.

Learn how to write your own company tagline

Good taglines need to do several things at once: position your company, reflect the values of your brand and sell your product. The key to writing a great tagline is an understanding of the psychology of writing great copy.

Would you like to write a good tagline for your company or a client? Develop your copywriting skills and learn more about the role of a copywriter in determining a company’s brand with our blog post on what a copywriter does.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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