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Persuasion Through Advertising: Creating Product Recognition - Slogans
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An effective slogan summarizes the ad and provides a memory peg on which the name of the product is hung. So, for example, we associate "Pizza" spoken by a cartoon Caesar with Little Caesar Pizza; "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't" with Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars; and "Get a little taste of French culture" with the yogurt Yoplait. And if someone says, "When you care enough to send the very best," we think "Hallmark cards," because the trademark and the slogan are now fused in our minds.
In addition to identifying a product and helping to differentiate one from another, a slogan may transcend the ad and enter the Links Of London Charms vocabulary through which we think about and discuss our lives. For example, one college student surprised his parents by arriving home unexpectedly. When his mother opened the door, he said, "I cared enough to send the very best," meaning something that Hallmark had not intended when it created that slogan.
Similarly, at your last birthday party, someone probably said, "You're not getting older, you're getting better." That statement formed the core of an extended ad campaign for Clairol hair coloring. As a slogan it capitalized on our fears of aging, to reassure us implicitly that if we used the product we would look younger and better. But the slogan also underscores age stereotypes. It is, after all, possible to get both older and better. In addition, the slogan promises the impossible: unless we've died, we are getting older. Aging is an inexorable biological process. Moreover, there is no reason to assume that we should not want to get older. The ad plays on common fears that are unfounded. Most people, for example, report that youth was a more troublesome and traumatic time than older age. When the statement "You're not getting older, you're getting better" is made, it is no longer a statement about a hair coloring. It is a linguistic convention--an expression that both parties know is only partially true. You may indeed be getting better.
Some slogans are more susceptible to parody than others. In 1964, for example, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater erred in selecting the slogan "In your heart, you know he's right." Billboards bearing the slogan were quickly defaced to read "extremely right," "but in your head, you know he's wrong," or "but in your guts, you know he's nuts."
Long after a product's marketers have abandoned a slogan, the slogan may retain currency because we tend to store highly redundant messages in our memories for later retrieval. Chicken producer Frank Perdue said in one of his ads that "golden yellow is the natural color of a chicken. ... So don't wonder why my chickens are so yellow, wonder why some chickens are so white [lifting up a competitor's white chicken]. I wonder where the yellow went." That last sentence Links Of London Bracelets becomes a barometer of the age of the auditor. Those of us old enough to remember the Pepsodent toothpaste slogan "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent" hear the line as a clever reconstruction of an old claim and also as a literal statement. Those unexposed to the Pepsodent campaign hear only the literal statement.
As our discussion so far indicates, any trademark, package, or slogan that identifies a product also distinguishes that product from those employing a different trademark, package, and slogan. Indeed, the package may be all that distinguishes one product from another.
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