A good slogan can be fun, bold, or provocative. Regardless of what a company is selling, it needs a phrase that will grab a customer's attention, sticking in their consciousness long after the ad has passed them by.
Some companies stick with one slogan while others seem to cycle through them often. For example, Dr. Pepper once referred to itself as the “King of Beverages,” and told people at different times to “Be a Pepper” and “Be You.” They switched from “Always one of a kind” to "The one you crave" in 2017.
Occasionally, a slogan can even cause a backlash. In 2014, Victoria's Secret had to alter their slogan "The Perfect Body'' to "A Body for Everybody" when customers felt their ad didn't promote body diversity. In 2017, lotion brand Nivea pulled an ad with the phrase “White is purity” after online complaints that the line promoted white supremacy.
When a slogan resonates, the sentiment can last for decades. Most people associate Campbell's Soup with “M'm! M'm! Good!” and Goldfish Crackers are still selling “The snack that smiles back.” At times, a slogan can encourage the customer to follow a story. While the Trix Rabbit did eventually get his coveted cereal, years of commercials and cartoon advertisements followed the cartoon character on his failed attempts, every time telling the “silly rabbit” that “Trix are for kids.”
Stacker went back through advertising history and compiled a list of 50 memorable slogans. Most people know which candies “Melt in your mouth, not in your hands” and what breakfast cereal claims to be “G-r-r-reat!”—click through to see if you can recognize which brands are behind some of the ad world's most notable phrases.
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"A diamond is forever."
De Beers started mining South African diamonds in the late 1800s; in the years to follow, they grew to become the world's largest diamond distributor. Advertising copywriter Mary Frances Gerety helped create demand for the diamond engagement ring in 1947 when she came up with “A diamond is forever”—associating the stone with everlasting love. The phrase has appeared in De Beers's engagement ring ads ever since, and has been referenced in everything from James Bond films to songs and novels. The majority of engagement rings now have a diamond in the center, although that might not be “forever” after all: De Beers' sales have declined in recent years, partly due to ethical concerns from younger generations.
"You're in good hands."
Allstate started selling car insurance in 1931, and the company has since expanded to include life, renter, and home policies. A sales manager came up with their famous slogan in 1950. He brought the line to his team after his wife soothed his worries by telling him their sick daughter was “in good hands” with their doctor. Allstate is now one of the most well-known insurance companies on the market.
"____ are for kids."
In 1954, General Mills gave the world Trix cereal as a kid-friendly counterpart to their Kix corn puffs. Joe Harris created the Trix Rabbit and the slogan “Trix are for kids” five years later. The line helped fuel a long-running storyline in commercials, in which the rabbit desperately tried to nab the cereal. Harris was not pleased when the company eventually gave the rabbit what he wanted, stating that it “destroyed the tension.”
"Pleasing people the world over."
"That was easy."
Staples launched their big-box office supplies store in 1986. In 2001, they revamped their image with a new slogan in an effort to compete with chains like Office Depot and to let customers know shopping with them would be easier than in the past. No only was the re-brand successful, people now buy the Staples “easy” button just for fun.
The California Milk Processor Board launched in 1993 to help find a better way to market milk and boost sales in California. The creators of the “Got milk?” slogan decided their new campaign would focus on the absence of milk—something most Americans were putting on their cereal or in their coffee—not an emphasis on whether or not it was healthy for customers. The campaign led to at least 70 commercials and hundreds of memorable ads featuring cartoon icons, former presidents, and athletes donning the signature milk mustache.
"Quality never goes out of style."
Levi Strauss & Co. introduced the first pair of blue jeans in 1873 and used this slogan in the '80s to compete with designer labels. Levi's wanted customers to associate their product with classic style, quality, and durability; today the brand remains recognizable worldwide.
"It gives you wings!"
Red Bull started selling their Thai-inspired energy drink in Austria in 1987. The drink, which contains caffeine, taurine (an amino acid), and B vitamins, is marketed to people who need energy for activities ranging from driving to studying to playing sports. The company settled a class-action lawsuit in 2014 over claims that they misled customers because the “It gives you wings!” slogan incorrectly insinuates that Red Bull drinkers would have more energy than if they'd simply had a cup of coffee with similar levels of caffeine.
"The quicker picker-upper."
When Procter & Gamble created Bounty in 1965, they wanted to compete on their merits. Their slogan let people know their new paper towels were more absorbent and would clean up spills better than the competition. It's not just a line: Bounty paper towels consistently rank as the strongest on the market.
"When you care enough to send the very best."
Hallmark started selling greeting cards in 1910. The privately held company now creates ornaments, wrapping paper, toys, and even has its own TV channel. The enduring slogan came about in 1944, illustrating the company's focus on quality and care. Hallmark cards are still popular with consumers: The greeting card giant produces 10,000 new ones each year.
Although the brand had an uncomfortable association with the Nazi party pre-World War II, German automaker Volkswagen is now one of the largest automobile makers in the the world. Their “Think small” campaign came about in 1960 as way to introduce the VW Beetle to an American audience that was used to bigger cars. The simple ad played on emotion instead of only technical details, changing the advertising industry going forward.
"Save money. Live better."
Walmart, the discount powerhouse started by Sam Walton in 1950, changed their slogan from “Always low prices” in 2007. The company wanted a catchphrase with a tone that focused on “how saving money on the little things adds up and helps families live better.” While Walmart has faced public relations struggles regarding low worker pay and removing disabled employees as greeters, the store remains popular with consumers.
"Where do you want to go today?"
Bill Gates and Paul Allen launched computer giant Microsoft in 1975. When the company released their Windows 95 operating system in the ‘90s, they wanted a slogan that conveyed choice and new experiences to the consumer. Microsoft is now one of the most valuable companies in the world.
"Only you can prevent forest fires."
Tough-yet-admirable mascot Smokey Bear starting teaching the public about wildfire prevention in 1944. The U.S. Forest Service's original slogan ("Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires”) didn't exactly roll off the tongue, but the more memorable “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” was created a few years later. Smokey's cartoon image, which is protected by U.S. federal law, is now an endearing part of the National Park Service and is synonymous with fire safety.
"Taste the rainbow."
A fruit flavored alternative to bite-sized chocolate, Skittles started selling their colorful chewable candies in the mid-1970s and created its inviting “Taste the Rainbow” slogan in the '90s. In 2016, Skittles became the most popular non-chocolate candy on the market, beating out mainstays like Lifesavers and Twizzlers.
"Can you hear me now?"
Verizon launched in 2000 and is now one of the world's largest cell service providers. In 2002, their new slogan advertised the reliability of their service via a bespectacled technician character. The “Can you hear me now?” guy, (actor Paul Marcarelli, whom Verizon dubbed “Test Man”) was so popular that Sprint hired him in 2016, causing some controversy in the advertising world.
"Imagination at work."
Founded back in 1889 with the help of Thomas Edison among others, General Electric manufactures products such as refrigerators and dishwashers. Their “Imagination at work” campaign informed consumers they're more than just an appliance company: GE has had a hand in everything from building airplane engines to creating innovative health care technology.
"I'm lovin' it."
"Let's go places."
Car company Toyota announced a new slogan to go with their 2013 inventory. "The phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovation that enriches people's lives,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager.
"Every kiss begins with ___."
Retail giant Kay Jewelers has been around for more than 100 years. They now have more than 1,000 stores around the country. While the company that owns Kay—Sterling Jewelers—markets their jewelry toward women, the company faced a lawsuit from hundreds of female employees in 2017. Employees claimed the workplace fostered a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
“15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
Geico originally started in 1936 as a company for federal employees; the initials stand for Government Employees Insurance Company. Geico only had 2% of the car insurance market before they adopted their popular slogan—by 2017, they were second only to State Farm.
"The happiest place on earth."
Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif. in 1955. Walt Disney, creator of Snow White and Mickey Mouse, wanted to create a place where parents and kids could have a good time—and be happy—together. A decade later, Disney announced he would create Disney World in Florida. Unfortunately, he died before the theme park in the Sunshine State was finished, but both Disney locations remain popular destinations with families.
"American by birth, rebel by choice."
William S. Harley founded Harley-Davidson with brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson in 1903. Harley-Davidson is not only selling motorcycles—their brand is all about adventure and personal freedom. The motorcycle maker is so iconic that Barbie even made a special-edition doll in their honor.
"America runs on ______."
Dunkin' Donuts opened in 1950 in Massachusetts. Founder Bill Rosenberg wanted to offer customers something simple to start their day: hot coffee and tasty donuts. In 2019, the popular pastry shop dropped “donuts”—but not its slogan—to focus on coffee and other beverages in an effort to compete with chains like Starbucks.
"What's in your wallet?"
Capital One started out as a credit card company in 1994, and the catchiness of its slogan helped it become a recognizable brand. It is now one of the top 10 banks in the U.S.; celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson, Alec Baldwin, and Jennifer Garner have made appearances in their commercials.
"Let your fingers do the walking."
Before people could find a company online in seconds, they turned to the Yellow Pages. The thick book (which is now a website) contained listings of phone numbers and addresses of local businesses. Their tagline referenced the company's logo, which was two fingers drawn like legs, and encouraged users find what they needed by phone instead of on foot.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976, and they wanted to stand out in the personal computer market. With commercials that paid tribute to “crazy ones” and “rebels” like Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Dylan, and Amelia Earhart, their products encouraged customers to “Think different”—a possible counter to IBM, which boasted “Think” as its tagline since the early 20th century.
"Good to the last drop."
Maxwell House attributed their slogan to President Theodore Roosevelt, who they claim said their coffee was “good to the last drop” in 1907. It's probably not true that Roosevelt actually said the famous line, but the slogan stuck and is still printed on the packaging today.
Subway is the largest chain of submarine sandwich shops in the country. In 1974, there were 16 locations in Connecticut; today there are more than 40,000 franchises worldwide. Customers get made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and more with ingredients that stay true to their motto: fresh meats, vegetables, and breads are always on the menu.
"The man your man could smell like."
Initially created for women in 1937, the men's version of the fragrance Old Spice hit the market a year later. “The man your man could smell like” ads—which featured a handsome, shirtless man who used Old Spice body wash—aired during the Superbowl in 2010. Sales rose 11% the year after the ad. The award-winning commercial “took an old, sleepy brand and woke it up, and overnight wove its way into popular culture," said Mark Tutssel, global chief creative officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide.
"Just do it."
In 1987, Nike was struggling to compete with Reebok—but a year later, the “Just Do It” campaign catapulted the company to success. Featuring many celebrity athletes in its ads over the years, Nike ran a commercial starring the controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick for the ad's 30th anniversary—generating a massive buzz and receiving support from younger audiences. While the slogan is linked with athletic performance and personal choice, it has a morbid influence. Advertising executive Dan Wieden adapted the last words of a convicted murderer who said “Let's do it” right before he was executed.
"Get N or get out."
Nintendo has been around since the late 1800s, but the company got into the video game business when they started distributing the Magnavox Odyssey in 1975 (and their own system a decade later). The “Get N or get out” slogan referred to the company's third video game console system, the popular Nintendo 64 (or N64).
"It's finger lickin' good."
Harland “Colonel” Sanders started selling KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, out of a Shell gas station before opening the first franchise in 1952. Sanders was an integral part of early advertising campaign. By the time he died, Sanders and his phrase made KFC one of the most recognizable brands. Recent ads for the fast food giant continue to feature the Colonel, although these days he's been portrayed by celebrities ranging from Darrell Hammond to Reba McEntire.
"Where's the beef?"
Fast food chain Wendy's started asking “Where's the beef?” in 1984, when elderly character actress Clara Peller starred in a commercial asking for more meat on her hamburger. The ad boosted Wendy's revenue by 31% that year, and 1984 presidential candidate Walter Mondale even used the phrase to insult his opponent.
Coca-Cola started touting happiness alongside their sodas in 2009. The slogan promoted issues like peace in the Middle East and supported anti-bullying efforts. In 2016, the company switched gears to a simpler message and started telling customers to “Taste the feeling.”
"Because you're worth it."
Make-up company L'Oreal wanted to appeal to women's independence, so they started telling women they were “worth it” in 1973. L'Oreal wasn't just selling makeup so women could look good for someone else, they were selling the importance of a woman's choice to buy what she wanted simply because she wanted it. Now, 80% of women identify positively with the phrase.
"Share moments, share life."
Camera company Kodak debuted in the late 1800s, offering products that gave customers the ability to create tangible memories of moments in their life. Their photography products created many “Kodak moments” up until the early 2000s, when the company couldn't keep up with the digital revolution. In 2010, film lovers made a pilgrimage to the world's last Kodachrome-processing location—Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan.—when the shop announced they would stop developing the film. Two years later, Kodak filed for bankruptcy, but the brand continues to be licensed for camera products.
“Snap! Crackle! Pop!”
Created by Kellogg in the late 1920s, Rice Krispies' slogan first referenced the noise the breakfast cereal made after being doused in milk. In 1941, the cereal's cartoon mascots: Snap! Crackle! and Pop! joined the box, becoming Kellogg's longest-running marketing campaign.
"Grace, space, pace."
"Think outside the bun."
Glenn Bell opened the first Taco Bell in California in 1962. The fast food chain wanted to compete with restaurants that sold burgers, so they urged customers to try something different. The Mexican-themed company continues to innovate and recently released Nacho fries, their most successful product launch ever. In 2012, they opted for a new slogan that focused on experience instead of food: “Live Más.”
"M'm! M'm! Good!"
Campbell's Soup, which started in the late 1800s, advertised “M'm! M'm! Good!” on the radio in the 1930s. In later commercials, they referred to their soup as a “warm hug.” Not only were they selling food, they were marketing the idea of comfort.
"The best a man can get."
King C. Gillette created his company's disposable blades at the start of the 20th century. While Gillette also makes razors for women, their slogan “The best a man can get” is marketed to guys who want confidence from a close shave. In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, Gillette ran a new ad in 2019 speaking out against toxic masculinity—with the tagline “The best men can be.”
"Obey your thirst."
Coca-Cola introduced Sprite in 1961. Sales were dragging decades later, so in the mid-1990s the company advertised the lemon-lime soda with an unconventional message about image that resonated with the youth market. In 2015, Sprite started the “Obey your verse” campaign with a nod to hip-hop artists like Drake and the Notorious B.I.G.
"What would you do for a ________ bar?"
Klondike Bars—stickless squares of ice cream dipped in chocolate—were only sold in Pittsburgh and Ohio until the 1970s. The product went mainstream in the early '80s, with commercials featuring people doing silly things to get a Klondike Bar. The phrase remains in popular culture, with people taking to the internet to express what they would do for the treat.
"The snack that smiles back."
"Once you pop, you can't stop."
When customers open a can of Pringles, they get neatly stacked chips piled on top of each other. The slogan references the chip's pop top, which a young Brad Pitt demonstrated in one of the company's early commercials.
“Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's __________.”
Makeup company Maybelline ramped up their advertising in the early ‘90s to compete with CoverGirl and Revlon. The idea behind their famous slogan was one of possibility: If a woman wasn't born with long eyelashes or ruby red lips, she could get them with Maybelline products.
"The world's local bank."
In 2002, HSBC starting calling themselves “The world's local bank.” But in 2011, as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the bank had to scale back and close some of its worldwide location—admitting that they could no longer live up to their famous motto.
"Like a good neighbor _____ ____ is there."
A retired farmer started State Farm in 1922, creating one of the most successful insurance providers. Barry Manilow wrote their famous jingle—which focused on their reliability—in 1971. After 45 years, State Farm rebranded to focus on services like college funding and retirement savings. Their new motto is "Here to help life go right."
"It keeps going, and going, and going..."
Battery company Energizer introduced their long-lasting drumming bunny—a parody of Duracell's similar rabbit spokes-creatures—in the late ‘80s. By 2008, 95% of consumers recognized the fuzzy pink mascot. Since modern batteries are functionally similar, Energizer hopes their brand appeal will keep them at the top with consumers.