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Are these the greatest brand taglines in advertising history?


If the most beautiful thing about the advertising business is not the tagline a brand comes to adopt, then what is?


But, they are not easy to come up with because you don't find them by simply sitting down and throwing words together. I mean you can do that, but they will be just a string of words that feel sterile and even worse come over as 'trying too hard'.


At Origin, we believe that a good tagline portrays meaning, purpose and passion. It has to evoke emotions, memories and sentiments that directly (or indirectly) connects you to something by the way it makes you 'feel'.


Before we share what we feel (subjectively) are the 10 greatest brand taglines of all time, we should point out a few ground rules first.


A tagline is not the same as a slogan.


What do we mean?


A slogan most often represents a certain product or product line, and be created for a specific ad campaign, where as a tagline is a motto, phrase or saying whose purpose is to serve as the permanent expression of a company's purpose and mission.


Taglines must be allowed to change or evolve.


Times change, companies change and cultures change. So for that reason alone, while some taglines (including one or two you'll see here) may never change, many companies change theirs.


So remember that as you read on, because what we have picked may not be the tagline that company uses today.


There is 'great' and then there is 'iconic'.


As you go through the list it might feel unfair that it's predominantly giant brands being represented. If you're feeling that way then our response is - yes, you are right. But as our famously opinionated (and also passionate) CEO Fred Godfrey reminded us while we were creating this list - "There is a desperately quiet line between a tagline being great and being iconic. For a tagline to be great, it needs not just to be able carry the weight of the brand behind it, but more importantly it must inspire." Taking advantage of being on a soapbox he feels so closely connected to, we couldn't shut him up and so he went on to say "Great taglines don't have to be memorable. They have to be life-changing."


We just stopped listening after that, but if you ever want to chat taglines with anyone - fgodfrey@originmedia.tv (Fred Godfrey) is your guy.


So anyway! Without further ado or interruption, here is our Top 10 Countdown to what we at Origin believe to be the greatest brand taglines in advertising history (and why we think so).


 

10. GUINNESS

The first part of what became an iconic and daring storyline.


Why Origin loves it

In all honesty, Guinness could occupy at least half of this list with the taglines and slogans they've had over the years, but for us, this is 'the one'. Yes, we are breaking our own rules as this could technically be defined as a slogan, but in the hearts and minds of so many of us, it was more than that. Walk up to anyone in a pub and ask them for the Guinness tagline and this is what they will say. That makes it a tagline in our book and one that is more than worthy of our list. As for why we love it so much - the sheer courage that it takes for a brand basically to tell someone that they cannot instantly have their product flies in the face of what all consumers expect today - instant gratification. Genius guys. Genius. How many pints did you have to come up with this one?


NOTE: Breaking our own rules before we've barely even started the countdown was not deliberate; in fact it's quite annoying. However, isn't advertising about breaking rules and boundaries? We believe so. Anyway, onwards...


 

9. L'OREAL

A message that means as much, if not more, today than it did when it was adopted 50 years ago.


Why Origin loves it

Arguably the largest (and possibly first) global brand to invest their entire identity into aiming their message directly towards communities, cultures and individuals who have largely been swept aside or feel irrelevant to what they do, L'Oréal deserves to be on this list because they truly put their money where their mouth is - a place that inspired and encouraged change for the better. Thank you.


 

8. TOYOTA

The official tagline for the Japanese auto-maker since 2012.


Why Origin loves it

Nothing sells a product better than not selling it - but selling the promise of 'it' and what it might mean you can do. Few things spark our imagination more than the idea of an adventure, a voyage or simply a roadtrip. And this simple 3 word sentence sums all of that up. It also carries a rather more 'hidden' second meaning which we frankly adore - a commitment to progress, to evolution and to moving forward. For this reason alone it deserves to be on our list.


 

7. DISNEY

Inspired by Walt Disney's speech when opened the first park and said "To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world"


Why Origin loves it

This incredible tagline could not make more clear how they want you to feel when you step into their parks. It creates a sense of assurance and comfort in a world where happiness is not always available. It takes the thinking out of wondering and for that reason it belongs on this list.


 

6. AUDI

Originally a catchphrase borrowed by John Hegarty of BHH from an old poster over 3 decades ago and for those of you who aren't all that fluent in German it means 'Progress through technology'.


Why Origin loves it

The stuff of advertising legend, these three words encapsulate everything that the German auto-maker needed to say about their brand during a time when their nation was still healing and the overall image of Germany was still a delicate and fragile one. It is hard to imagine a brand having a more difficult task of finding a tagline than Audi did back then, but holy shit did they nail it. And not only did they nail it on that front, but do you know a more future-proof tagline out there? We don't - and that is why it's on our list.


 

5. COCA-COLA

Coined by an ad agency executive in 1988.


Why Origin loves it

You know when your brand is iconic when you're able to adopt a tagline that is so broad in its meaning that the words without context can mean anything. But when attached to a bottle or a can that literally billions of us have drunk from over the company's history, it suddenly makes complete sense. This affords a brand the incredibly rare luxury of being able to choose positive words that truly allow the consumer to connect that word to what will happen when they, well, open it. Simply wow.


 

4. NIKE

Coined by an ad agency executive in 1988.


Why Origin loves it

If there is another tagline that cuts right to the point, we don't know it. This brand tagline inspires action and hope among anyone who wears or see it and makes them feel like anything in the world is achievable. It's a nuclear fuel rod for the mind and body of humanity, and for this reason alone will almost certainly be one of the immortal taglines of all time. Well done ad executive - we hope you got a promotion for that one!


 

3. JOHN LEWIS

Dropped in 2022 after it was first introduced in 1925, this tagline stood the test of time for almost a century.


Why Origin loves it

If there is another way to demonstrate your fervent belief in who you are and how you value yourself, we haven't seen it. Alien perhaps to our American audience here, John Lewis remains today as one of the most iconic department stores in the United Kingdom and they have done so through good times and bad. But what this tagline earn such a high spot on our list isn't the fact that one of our founders is a Brit, it's because from the moment you walk in the door, you can just tell that everything they have ever done as a store has had this mantra at its heart. It's their cornerstone and for a century they've stood right by it.


 

2. RONSEAL

In 1994, Ronseal employed a London-based advertising agency to create a campaign and tagline that 'without trying too hard would de-mystify our products'.


Why Origin loves it

As the expression goes, 'sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to see'. Ok, that's not really an expression but it makes the point we want to make which is - if you are able to step back far enough from something, then you might just be standing at the correct distance. This tagline is pure, factual and in its own way - funny. A tin of paint is hardly going to change the world like a brand like Nike or Apple (more on them in a moment), but to acknowledge that and play into it makes this a truly 'great' tagline that is memorable in its own right and fully deserving of being on this list. It is pure marketing genius.


 

1. CARLSBERG

Created in 1973 by Tony Bodinetz at KMP for the UK market and adopted globally shortly after.


Why Origin loves it

What can even be said about it frankly? To be bold and to play so wittily into 'absolutes' requires confidence in your own product that the consumer will not only find endearing, but will likely resonate with so much of what they say and feel every day about something (we all love our absolutes). Humor is also highly memorable and tends to be talked about when done right. And boy was this talked about.


So, cheers to you Carlsberg. You probably have the best tagline in advertising history.


 

DID WE MISS YOUR FAVORITE?


Taglines are no different to products themselves insofar as some people like something that other people do not. And given brand names like Apple with 'Think Different' and EA's 'Challenge Everything' aren't even here, you are most likely ripping your hair out.


So go on - tell us what you think doesn't deserve to be here and more importantly - tell us what you think does. In fact, do us all a favor and tell 'Fearless Fred', because he's up for the chat.



Before we go - Got Milk?


 

Origin is an award-winning creative technology company whose zero code TV advertising solutions have reshaped the way marketers captivate and communicate with consumers inside and outside the home.


Fusing pioneering CTV ad formats with proprietary technology and direct media partnerships that span the streaming ecosystem, Origin's products are embraced by brands, agencies and platforms who are looking to deliver a truly personal storytelling experience to their audience.

Founded by media veterans Fred Godfrey and Stephen Strong, Origin is driven by a relentless belief that the time has come to challenge tradition and enrage the status quo. Learn more at www.originmedia.tv.



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