How to Write a Tagline that Doesn't Suck...

How to Write a Tagline that Doesn't Suck...

By: Canon Wing

...the energy right out of your brand name.

Here's a cheat sheet to help you create a memorable tagline:


Does your tagline tell a story? For example, what story does "Just Do It" tell? Can you see the main character, her struggles, her obstacles? Can you hear the voice in her head? Can you see her overcome this struggle?

If you can see those things with your tagline, you will see her buying your product.


Consider: Got Milk? Just Do It. Short is memorable. Short is shareable. Short is confident. Short is how we receive calls to action. "Clean Your Room," "Brush Your Teeth," "Stay In School." Short taglines engage us. They pump us up.

Every word counts. Every sound counts. Every letter counts. A great way to test if your tagline is short is if you can remember it. If it makes you more unique. American Express: Don't Leave Home Without It.


Taglines do not explain everything you do. They don't explain your name either. They DO invite people into the emotional experience of the brand. Consider: Maybe She's Born With It, Maybe It's Maybelline. What is the emotional experience?

It's the experience of being a beautiful woman. Being a woman people think can't possibly be born so beautiful. A woman people are curious about, talking about, looking at closely, admiring. Also notice how many M's are in that tagline. M for Maybelline. This leads me to our next cheat sheet item, savory.


Does your tagline whet appetites? Do people want more? Your tagline paints a picture. Does your tagline make people see how you will help them have a greater future? Are their senses activated, engaged, heightened?

Kay Jewelers: Every kiss begins with Kay. What sense is activated? What emotion? What picture? You can see it, right? Can you almost feel the touch of a kiss? That's a pretty savory tag line. Get savory.

This is just a cheat sheet. There are exceptions to every one of these basic principles. So when you're picking your final tagline from the list of options you create, consider, but don't be ruled by, all four of these principles. If it's not the shortest nor the simplest tagline, but it's a savory story, don't sweat it.

Consider: There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard. Not Short. Not exactly simple. But it hits story like a Mack truck. It's savory. I recited it to myself almost perfectly to write this article so it has great "recall" for a longer tagline.

Written By: Canon Wing