A Little History Behind Some of America’s Most Famous Slogans

My husband and I finally finished binge-watching our way through the hit show Mad Men and I have to say it wasn’t our favorite. In fact, it was kind of quite painful to plug our way to the end. We even shelved it a couple times but it was one of those things we just couldn’t give up. For some odd reason we just had to see it through.

Despite the pain, there were a couple of things I really enjoyed about the show:

1. Seeing the fashions of the 50’s and 60’s.

2. Seeing the advertising industry at that time. It was really fun to see what really goes behind coming up with a slogan or an advertisement and I picture things are quite similar these days, minus the rounds and rounds of Scotch and cigarettes in the workplace at 9:00 am :)

We have some really great slogans that have stood the test of time here in American advertising so I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of them and learn a little more about them.

1. McDonalds – “I’m Lovin’ It”

Simple, effective, and so successful. The “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan is one of McDonalds’ most popular and long standing advertising straplines. It ties in really well with the company’s brand values, and sticks in peoples’ minds. Coupled with their signature advert style, this helps create a winning campaign every time.

2. KFC – “Finger Lickin’ Good”

This phrase originated in 1932 from its founder Harland David Sanders (aka Colonel Sanders). Pretty cool!

Much like its fast food rival, KFC’s long standing advert slogan reflects the company’s values. “Finger Lickin’ Good” tells the audience that the chicken tastes great. This is exactly what you want from a fast food restaurant.

3. Subway – “Eat Fresh”

Subway has been really clever with its strapline. Fast food is notoriously bad for you, so in a bid to position themselves as more ‘healthy’, this tagline was born. The “Eat Fresh” slogan lets audiences know their sandwiches – and the fillings – are always fresh and freshly prepared. Coupled with the yellow and green branding, this was a really smart move.

4. Kit Kat – “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat”

A lunch box favorite of kids, the iconic Kit Kat slogan is one that has stood the test of time. Used in both printed and television adverts, the “Have a Break...” tagline reflects how quick and easy the wafer bar is to eat. It is simple, and easy to remember – much like the company’s red and white branding.

5. “Got Milk?”

It’s the slogan we all grew up with. The multi-faceted celebrity campaigns and endorsements helped milk never seem cooler to us kids. Now that’s great marketing!

6. Skittles – “Taste the Rainbow”

Skittles have used their “Taste the Rainbow” since 1994. This simple slogan works because it perfectly reflects the product. The sweets themselves feature a rainbow of different color, which reflects in with the company branding of a rainbow on the packaging.

7. Rice Krispies – “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”

Snap, Crackle and Pop have been synonymous with the Rice Krispies brand since the 1930’s. And as well as being great mascots, the onomatopoeic gnomes make for a great and long lasting slogan. The cereal is said to make a “snap, crackle, pop” noise when milk is added. And even if it didn’t this campaign has been hugely effective for Kelloggs.

8. Kelloggs Frosties – “They’re GR-R-R-reat”

Tony the Tiger has been the Frosties mascot since the very beginning, and he is famous for uttering the elongated catchphrase “They’re Gr-r-r-reat!”. This ad slogan works because it appeals to the brand’s target audience of children, and shows that breakfast can be delicious. A lifespan of over 50 years shows just how effective it is.

9. Red Bull – “It Gives You Wiiiings!”

Red Bull has used the metaphor “It Gives You Wings” as its slogan for many years. The reason this advert has worked – and lasted so long – is because it is clever. It tells the audience that the drink really will give you an energy boost. The ad slogan is a great example of marketing at its best.

10. "M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand"-

Even though this technically may not really be true, it’s very clever and makes you want M&Ms right now!

I think it is pretty fun to see old advertising that still works from slogans that originated right from their very beginnings, such as KFC’s “finger-licking good”.

Now the question is, after seeing all these brilliant marketing slogans, which of one these things are you craving now? ;)

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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