In a just world, a good product would not need a great tagline to sell itself. It would simply fly off the shelves by virtue of its superior quality, environmental credentials, and highly ethical and equitable treatment of its workforce. In a just world, customers would be interested in whether the product does what it says, whether it's healthy and high quality, and whether it is value for money. Secondary concerns would involve the sustainability of the product's manufacturing process and whether or not it was made in a place with adequate workers' rights protections, at a company that prizes proper non-discriminatory hiring practices.
We do not live in a just world. We live in a world full of advertising. That means that a mediocre or even a kind of terrible product with a great marketing effort behind it can soar to incredible heights just by the power of marketing. The right ad campaign can elevate a watery, indifferent beer from undrinkable to the must-have brew of the college kegel. It can make a boxy and not very safe car the fashion statement of its decade. Of course, it can also bring our attention to a great product we didn't know about or attach warm fuzzies and a sense of community or a childhood memory to something that was otherwise just a meaningless snack. That is the magic of advertising, a power that can be used for good or evil depending on who wields it.
How many of the advertisers' earworms are still in your noggin? Let's find out!
This was Budweiser's hugely succcessful 1990's ad campaign. It has now been parodied so much that it is basically beyond parody.
Disney World calls itself this, and it's not far off. Their various parks are indeed a very happy (albeit super expensive) place for visitors of all ages.
This incredibly successful campaign featured celebrities with a milk mustache. It managed to make a rather dull and nonspecific product really rather cool.
MasterCard's "priceless" campaign has been around for 20 years now. It's one of the first times a financial company managed to show that it had a soul, hence its success.
This slogan has been around for a long time. Campbell's prides its brand on keeping it simple, hence the food's simple, as is the copy.
Wheaties introduced this campaign playing on the idea of a breakfast that sets you up to win. They did not invent the phrase; they just re-purposed it.
FedEx technically uses the slogan "we live to deliver" these days. However, this long and unwieldy older slogan was very effective, and far more people probably remember it.
BMW is a German car brand that used to be very famous for their superior hydraulic steering system. The name stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, founded in 1916.
Maybelline introduced this incredibly effective tagline in 1991. Almost everyone knows the tag, even if they don't know the company.
John Deere is probably the biggest name in farming, as far as machinery goes. They sell tractors, hoes, harvesters, etc.
Pringles gain their distinctive shape from the fact that they aren't technically a potato chip. Most chips are made by cutting potatoes. Pringles are made by smashing together a slurry of wheat, rice, corn, and potato then shaping it into the distinctive Pringle form.
This is a very popular Kellogg's rice cereal. Curiously, the founder of Kellogg's was actually a religious zealot whose first invention, Cornflakes, was designed to help prevent masturbation. It's not clear how he thought that eating a hearty breakfast helped with this, but he did.
Kit-Kat was created by Rowntrees, the most ethical and socially aware company ever to make chocolate (they were Quakers and had a strong moral compass). They are now made by Nestle, who are perhaps not so easily described in that way.
Timex didn't want to compete with Rolex. They wanted you to know that if you beat the holy heck out of their watch, it wouldn't break.
This Dutch beer claims they can refresh the parts other beers cannot reach. They never let on which parts they mean, though.
Meow Mix realized that all people really want from a cat product advertisement is to see cute cats. They delivered, by making the cats the spokes-people for the brand.
American Express began life in 1850 as a merger of mail companies owned by Henry Wells, William Fargo, and John Warren Butterfield. Nowadays it is one of the four biggest credit cards on the planet.
M&Ms had this slogan at the outset. It may be because they were invented in 1941, a time when air conditioning was a luxury not many could afford.
Hallmark is the premier American greeting card company. It's not actually the very best, but it's certainly decent value for money.
Staples sells everything you need to make your office work. They love offices. Indeed, they once got in a fight with the owner of the domain office.com, who refused to sell until they made him a seven-figure offer.
Capital One has been trying to catch up to the big boys: Visa, MasterCard, and Amex. They have enlisted a number of very major stars to ask people what they have in their wallets.
Geico runs many ad campaigns, each slightly more annoying than the last. Though few people like their ads, everyone remembers them, which means they work!
L'Oreal is a French brand that sells the idea that pampering yourself is about self-worth, not about looking good for others. This is understandably a popular angle, especially in the USA.
This slogan was introduced in a hilariously over-produced ad with a sung jingle. It was quite the earworm and nobody could forget it!
Verizon is one of the big daddies of the communications industry in the USA. They had a huge success with an ad campaign in which a friendly everyman supposedly waked all over America checking whether people could hear him.
De Beers paid a lot of money to Hollywood stars to popularize the idea that diamonds are the ultimate jewel. Before that, any valuable gem was considered great for an engagement ring or a superior necklace.
Bounty is a paper towel brand that mainly targets the soccer mom demographic. It promises that it will save time, something its time-starved target demo wants to hear.
State Farm promises to show up "like a good neighbor" when a crisis hits. Their jingle saying as much was written by none other than Barry Manilow in 1971.
The Marines sometimes need to recruit, and this is how they do it. They aren't trying to claim there are a lot of them; the point is that hardly anyone is good enough to get in, but if you are, you must be the best.
McDonald's is by far the biggest fast-food chain on the planet. They claim to have served over 99 billion meals since their founding in 1955 in Illinois.
Dunkin' is all about appealing to the salt-of-the-earth worker. Interestingly, brand observers show that even when a Starbucks and a Dunkin's are next door and offer coffee of equal quality for the same price, they don't get the same customers. People feel very strongly about which one they like!
Ronseal's advertising is incredibly boring on purpose. The product does what it says on the tin. If it says it will stain your wooden deck and make it weather resistant for five years, that's what it does. This is the marketing of a brand who knows its customer.
HBO launched this slogan in 1996 when the fact that they weren't regular TV was truly a distinguishing feature. These days, with streaming and internet, it's actually a little quaint.
This brand's advertising is designed to appeal to a benevolent lad. It's all about claiming to be good but putting on a caveat that makes clear they're not too big for their boots.
They said this in 2002 before social media took off. Clearly, these days, it's not at all true - and it probably wasn't then.