Top Ten Advertising Slogans of the Twentieth Century

by buildingpharmabrands

Ad Age Advertising Century: Top 10 Slogans

The top ten advertising slogans of the twentieth century have helped build lasting brands that enjoy immense customer loyalty and franchise even today.

1. De Beers: Diamonds are forever. Frances Gerety, a young copywriter from N.W. Ayer & Son, a prominent U.S. Advertising Agency created this most powerful slogan of the twentieth century in 1947. Today after sixty-six years, it is still going strong and 90 per cent of Americans recognize it.

2. Nike: Just do it. Created twenty-five years ago in 1988, this inspiring slogan while fundamentally simple, is distinct in its meaning. Just Do It means don’t think, don’t ask, don’t talk about it, don’t regret it, Just Do It. The slogan was coined at an ad agency (Wieden+Kennedy) meeting in 1988.

3. Coca-Cola: The pause that refreshes. Although created in 1929, you still hear this popular slogan sometimes today. As a manner of speaking, pause serves us in a number of ways. It not only refreshes, but also makes us look thoughtful, confident and credible. We can take a pause to refresh a presentation, refresh a meeting or a training session, refresh your problem solving process, refresh your plan and indeed refresh everything!

4. Miller Lite: Tastes great, less filling. McCann Erickson, a leading advertising agency created this campaign in 1974. Miller Lite beer is a classic example of repositioning a women’s product to become a man’s product. Before the launch of this product, light beer was considered a women’s drink. This powerful slogan engrained the image of Miller Lite so firmly and deeply that Lite has become a mainstream beer, that having women fight over it does not water down its image.

5. Avis: We Try Harder. In 1962, Paula Green, a copywriter at the famous ad agency, DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) penned the famous tagline, which has become synonymous with superior quality service. Avis, however dropped this tagline in 2012, after 50 years of living and breathing superior customer service. It’s your space is the new tagline that has just rolled out a few months ago.

6. Maxwell House: Good to the last drop. It is said that Theodore Roosevelt once drank coffee at the Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee, and said it was good to the last drop. The coffee served to him was from the Maxwell House (hotel) in Nashville – a regional brand of coffee, marketed by the Cheek family. The Cheek family sold the brand to General Foods in New York, which in the 1920s made wide use of the slogan. Maxwell Coffee became a national brand name in the 1920s. Maxwell Coffee was the largest selling coffee in the U.S. till 2007, when it was pushed to the second position by Folgers.

7. Wheaties: Breakfast of champions. Wheaties was invented accidentally when a health clinician in Minneapolis who was simmering bran gruel for intestinally distressed patients spilled it onto a hot stove and dried into flakes. Washburn Crosby Company (now General Mills) introduced Wheaties in 1924. The brand adopted the Breakfast of Champions  slogan in 1933 and in 1934 the Wheaties box featured its first athlete, Lou Gehrig.

8. Clairol: Does she…or doesn’t she? Clairol, the breakthrough one-step hair color in the beauty industry from Proctor & Gamble created one of the most influential taglines – Does she or doesn’t she with the help their advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding in 1956. Shirley Polykoff, the only female copywriter at the firm penned the slogan. The slogan countered the stigma of hair color and created a wholesome, sentimental image for Clairol. Within six years of the campaign 70 per cent of all adult women were coloring their hair catapulting Clairol’s sales fourfold. In 1967, Polykoff was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

9. Morton Salt: When it rains, it pours.  A common expression that you are likely to hear from friends and family when everything seems to be going wrong in your life: When it rains, it pours. It’s that expression that allows us to say something when there’s really nothing to say. This expression, when it rains, it pours, which helps us make sense of a string of bad luck, comes from a very unusual source – from an advertising slogan created for a brand of table salt that is free-flowing. N. W. Ayer & Son, the oldest advertising agency in the United States created this irreplaceable slogan for Morton Salt, When it rains, it pours in 1914 – almost a hundred years ago.

10. Wendy’s: Where’s the beef? The slogan, rather the query first launched and heard in 1984 soon became an all-purpose national catchphrase questioning the substance of an idea, event, or product. The phrase became associated even with the 1984 presidential election. The former Vice President Walter Mondale successfully used the phrase where’s the beef to cast doubt on Senator Gary Hart’s new ideas and changing the debate to specific details, earning him the Democratic nomination during the primaries.

Can you draw inspiration from these winning and memorable tag lines and think strategically, work on developing some powerful and memorable tag lines for your own brands?