TaglineGuru It's your brand on the line. (sm)
Nuts & Bolts

What is a Tagline?

A tagline is a succinct phrase, situated under or alongside your logo, that communicates a single but powerful brand message designed to resonate strongly with an intended audience. 

A tagline is not a proverb, maxim, saying, mission statement, or generic description of what your organization is and does.

Taglines are also referred to as slogans, mottos, straplines, and endlines.

Why a Tagline?

Taglines are the easiest and most effective way to communicate a new or revised brand message. They can enhance the value and relevance of your brand, extend its reach, and give it renewed vigor. Whether concrete or abstract, serious or funny, use a tagline to:

  • Express the meaning of your organization’s vision or mission
  • Convey essential qualities of your brand character
  • Emphasize a key differentiator or competitive advantage
  • Align your message to a specific audience or target market
  • Promise the fulfillment of a deeply-held need or wish

Tagline Objectives

A tagline compresses the meaning of an organizational vision, competitive position, brand promise, product benefit, or experience into a cogent story. It’s the distilled essence of your brand message – conceived strategically, expressed artfully, and delivered persuasively.

As an extension of your organization's brand, a tagline should say something essential about who you are, what makes you special, and why the world should care. It should confer marquee value on your brand and illustrate the value and appeal of your organization. Think of your tagline as a final exclamation point that wraps up your 30-second elevator pitch.
Since taglines are not written in stone, they can be easily updated or replaced if your organization or message undergoes a shift.

Use your tagline to:

  • Reflect a change in positioning
  • Launch a marketing or brand awareness campaign
  • Forge a relationship with a new audience
  • Define a new direction 
  • Highlight a key benefit or attribute

12 Elements of a Great Tagline

Make it your own
Keep it real
Make it understandable
Get to the point
Elevate their mood
Make it relevant
Break the mold
Make them think
Make it personable
Sell the big idea
Tickle their funny bone
Make a lasting impression

Test Your Knowledge

Let’s see how much you know about classic taglines and the products or companies they advertise. Below is a brief multiple-choice quiz. Have fun…and good luck! (Answers located at bottom).

  1. In 1979, AT&T unveiled a new tagline, “Reach out and _______someone.”
    (a) hold; (b) call; (c) touch; or (d) hug

  2. General Electric introduced a new tagline in 1981, “We bring _________things to life.”
    (a) good; (b) great; (c) bright; or (d) new

  3. “You’re in good hands” is a tagline used by which of the following insurance companies?
    (a) State Farm; (b) Allstate; (c) Met Life; or (d) Prudential

  4. Whose tagline is “That was easy?”
    (a) Office Depot; (b) Home Depot; (c) Costco; or (d) Staples

  5. Which company is known as the “King of beers?”
    (a) Miller; (b) Pabst Blue Ribbon; (c) Budweiser; or (d) Coors

  6. Which medicinal product once used the popular slogan “Try it, you’ll like it!?”
    (a) Tums; (b) Vix Vapor Rub (c) Alka-Seltzer; or (d) Pepto-Bismol

  7. After UPS came out with its tagline “What can Brown do for you?” DHL was quick to retort with a clever new ad slogan, “______. The new brown.”
    (a) purple; (b) black; (c) orange; or (d) yellow

  8. What soft drink sported the tagline “The uncola?”
    (a) Sprite; (b) 7up; (c) Mountain Dew; or (d) Dr Pepper

  9. The word “slogan” is derived from the expression “sluagh-ghairm,” which is
    (a) Dutch; (b) Celtic; (c) Gaelic; or (d) Old Norse

  10. Who used this tagline: “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking?”
    (a) Bullova; (b) Timex; (c) Swiss Army; or (d) Hamilton

  11. Who is known as “The most trusted name in news?”
    (a) CBS; (b) FOX; (c) NBC; or (d) CNN

  12. Volkswagen once used a tagline from the German: “Fahrvergnugen.” What did it mean?
    (a) driving enjoyment; (b) hug the road; (c) find your heart; or (d) sheer ecstasy

  13. Fill in the blank: “Nobody doesn’t like____________.”
    (a) Jimmy Dean; (b) Sara Lee; (c) Frito-Lay; or (d) Betty Crocker

  14. Fill in the blank: “It’s not your father’s _________anymore.”
    (a) Buick; (b) Lincoln; (c) Oldsmobile; or (d) Pontiac

  15. “Where’s the beef?” was a slogan of Wendy’s used in a T.V. commercial that debuted in 1984. The character of the elderly lady who poses the proverbial question was played by
    (a) Cora Pender; (b) Clara Peller; (c) Emma Pulver; or (d) Florence Biddle

  16. In 1967, Noxzema ran a TV commercial with a seductive woman who purred “Take it all off.” What was her nationality?
    (a) French; (b) Swedish; (c) British; or (d) Spanish

  17. Ivory Soap claimed its soap was “99 __/100% pure.” Was it (a) 44; (b) 33: (c) 66; or (d) 92

  18. What year did the aforementioned Ivory Soap slogan make its debut?
    (a) 1931; (b) 1913; (c) 1882; or (d) 1899

  19. Fill in the blank of this tagline from Maytag Appliances: “Our repairmen are the _______guys in town.”
    (a) greatest; (b) loneliest; (c) happiest; or (d) smartest

  20. Whose tagline is “Like a rock?”
    (a) Ford Trucks; (b) Toyota Trucks; (c) Dodge Trucks; or (d) Chevy Trucks

  21. Fill in the blank of the following city slogan: “_________rocks.”
    (a) Detroit; (b) Memphis; (c) Philadelphia; or (d) Cleveland

  22. Fill in the blank of the following state slogan: “Virginia is for____________.”
    (a) dreamers; (b) lovers; (c) victors; or (d) leaders

  23. “The toughest job you’ll ever love” is the tagline for the
    (a) U.S. Army; (b) U.S. Air Force; (c) U.S. Marine Corps; or (d) U.S. Peace Corps

  24. Fill in the blank of the 1968 slogan from Virginia Slims Cigarettes: “You’ve come a long way, _______.”
    (a) honey; (b) baby; (c) darlin’ or (d) sweetie

  25. Sluagh-ghairm means:
    (a) war game; (b) battle cry; (c) flag wave; or (d) tag, you’re it!

Scroll down for answers…


Answers: 1-c; 2-a; 3-b; 4-d; 5-c; 6-c; 7-d; 8-b; 9-c; 10-b; 11-d; 12-a; 13-b; 14-c; 15-b; 16-b; 17-a; 18-c; 19-b; 20-d; 21-d; 22-b; 23-d; 24- b; 25-b

If you correctly answered:

You have no discernable Tagline IQ. You live under a rock and are tagline-challenged.
You have a below-average Tagline IQ. You exhibit some brand intelligence, but a slogan aficionado you’re not.
You have an average Tagline IQ, which means you can have a successful career in…advertising!
You have an above-average Tagline IQ and possess a very good memory. You probably watch a lot of TV and like to troll trivia sites.
Congratulations, you have a genius-level Tagline IQ. You are brand savvy and slogan-worthy!