Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Your Commercial?

Back in my younger days (translated: a long time ago when the earth was green) when I worked evenings and weekends in a recording studio writing "lyrics" and "slogans" for jingles, I was fortunate to learn from some of the best in the market.

One of the best features of a great slogan &/or jingle was, and still is: BRIEF.

In fact, the shorter the better.

When working with multi-media - audio/visual - you have a slight advantage. Combining visual with a short, memorable and catchy phrase can stick in people's minds far longer.

Here's a fun example VISA used for the 2008 Olympics. Note the brevity in words:

But when working strictly with words, I think the shortest slogan (ever) used only ONE word, repeated THREE times.

Can you guess which word it was, and which car company used it?

I'll tell you in a second.

First, here are a few great, short, snappy slogans that either sum up their products in as few words as possible or that they've managed to marry well to their brand to paint a picture in your mind -- without using the actual brand name in the slogan. See if you recognize the product brands for each:

- Reach out and touch someone
- Plop, plop; fizz, fizz; oh what a relief it is.
- How do you spell relief?
- Finger lickin' good.
- M'm M'm Good
- Snap, Crackle, Pop
- They're G-r-reat!
- Let your fingers do the walking.
- The beer that made Milwaukee famous.
- The King of beers.
- Don't leave home without it
- The Greatest Show on Earth
- Good to the last drop
- Put a Tiger in Your Tank
- Oh what a feeling
- A little dab'll do ya

(Above, in order... AT&T, Alcaceltzer, Rolaids, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Campbell's Condensed Soup, Rice Krispies, Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes, Yellow Pages, Schlitz Beer, Budweiser Beer, American Express Card, Barnum & Bailey Circus, Maxwell House Coffee, Esso, Toyota, Brylcreem.)

Next, here are a few great, short, snappy slogans that use the actual brand name:

- You're in good hands with Allstate (Allstate Insurance)
- Doesn't your dog deserve ALPO? (Alpo Dog Food)
- Bayer works wonders (Bayer Aspirin)
- Flick your Bic (Bic Lighters)
- Burger King - the home of the Whopper (Burger King)
- Raid kills bugs dead (Raid Insecticide/Repellent)
- Come to Marlboro Country (Marlboro Cigarettes)
- Yahoo! Mountain Dew (Mountain Dew Soda)
- Tetley make tea-bags make tea (Tetley's tea)
- If it's got to be clean, it's got to be Tide (Tide Laundry Powder Soap)
- You're not fully clean until you're Zestfully clean (Zest Soap)
- Built Ford Tough (Ford Trucks)
- See the USA in a Chevrolet (Chevrolet)
- Cooks who know trust Crisco (Crisco Vegetable Shortening)

To state the obvious, the slogans above either describe their product (such as for Raid) or convey an emotion the advertisers want you to associate with their product (such as "trust" for Crisco).

Here is a fun exercise.

Describe your product, or an emotion you want people to associate with your product, in one paragraph. Then melt that paragraph down to a single sentence. Then melt it down even further to a short handful of words.

Fun, right?

Now, for the shortest slogan (ever) that used only ONE word, repeated THREE times, which was also a musical jingle...

"Zoom. Zoom. Zoom."

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