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Tagline Guru Releases List of Most Influential Taglines and Jingles in the TV and Internet Era

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Milk and bologna get top billing in survey that ranks advertising slogans based on their influence on American popular culture and language

San Mateo, Calif., August 3, 2005TaglineGuru today released its survey of the 100 most influential taglines and 30 most influential jingles introduced since the advent of broadcast television in 1948.

According to one hundred leading advertising, marketing, and branding professionals, the tagline Got Milk? was ranked #1 out of more than 300 submitted nominations. The slogan for the California Milk Processor Board was created in 1993 by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Oscar Mayer’s My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R, which was created by J. Walter Thompson back in the mid-1960s, ranked #1 out of nearly 100 nominated jingles.

According to Eric Swartz, president of Tagline Guru, “Advertising slogans have a glorious history and have exercised a profound influence on what we think and how we speak. For better or worse, taglines and jingles have become some of the most well-known and oft-quoted sounds bites of our culture.”

Swartz continues: “The goal of this survey was to discover which slogans have endured the test of time and have had a significant impact on our language, our media, and the advertising industry itself. Unlike many brand recognition surveys which ask consumers to match well-known brands with their slogans, we asked industry professionals to rank slogans based on their cultural and linguistic versatility, portability, and memorability.”

“If a slogan is repeated, imitated, or parodied often enough, it eventually becomes part of our collective consciousness and takes on a life of its own,” Swartz says. Slogans that achieve this level of notoriety typically have broken new ground, whether it’s in their use of grammar (Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee), rhythm (The quicker picker-upper), rhyme (Don’t get mad, get GLAD), inflection (They’re gr-r-r-eat!), metaphor (This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?), attitude (The few, the proud, the Marines), ulterior meaning (Nothing comes between me and my Calvins), or positioning (The uncola).

“We also confined our survey to slogans created after 1948. This means that many classic ones such as The breakfast of champions (Wheaties), The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola), and Good to the last drop (Maxwell House) were not eligible for consideration,” says Swartz.

The Top 10 Taglines

1.

Got milk? (1993)

California Milk Processor Board

2.

Don’t leave home without it. (1975)

American Express

3.

Just do it. (1988)

Nike

4.

Where’s the beef? (1984)

Wendy’s

5.

You’re in good hands with Allstate. (1956)

Allstate Insurance

6.

Think different. (1998)

Apple Computer

7.

We try harder. (1962)

Avis

8.

Tastes great, less filling. (1974)

Miller Lite

9.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. (1954)

M&M Candies

10.

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (1956)

Timex

Where’s the beef? was used by Walter Mondale for great effect in the 1984 presidential primary when he disparaged the lack of substance in Gary Hart’s ideas. Avis made being second banana something to be proud of with an inspired tagline that valued service above all else. Nike, on the other hand, created a slogan that became a life mantra for millions both on and off the court.

The Top 10 Jingles

1.

My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. (1960s)

Oscar Mayer

2.

Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is. (1970s)

Alka-Seltzer

3.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. (1971)

State Farm Insurance

4.

Double your pleasure, double your fun. (1959)

Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum

5.

Be all that you can be. (1981)

U.S. Army

6.

For all you do, this Bud’s for you. (1970s)

Budweiser

7.

A little dab’ll do ya. (1950s)

Brylcreem

8.

It’s the real thing. (1970)

Coca-Cola

9.

Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man. (1970s)

Ace Hardware

10.

You deserve a break today. (1971)

McDonald’s

Although there haven’t been many jingles created within the last 15 years that made the Top 30 list, the jingle, by all accounts, is not dead. The old ones are still in use today and haven’t lost their ear worm status. Some are being updated and made relevant for today’s more sophisticated consumers.

“When it comes to food, soft drinks, and beer, jingles still reign supreme. Since ‘70s retro is hot right now, don’t be surprised if Coca-Cola is going to teach the world how to sing…again,” muses Swartz.

Other Survey Results

The survey revealed that half of the taglines in the Top 100 were created in the 1960s and 1970s, many of which are still in use today. Only 20 percent of the taglines cited as influential were created after 1990. The only tagline created in the 21st century that made the list was What happens here, stays here (Las Vegas).

“Who knows whether the Vegas slogan will have legs in the coming years,” says Swartz. “In many ways, it’s the flip side of Don’t leave home without it. Instead of flaunting one’s identity when traveling, the Sin City tagline places a premium on secrecy, anonymity, and concealment. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the age in which we live.”

Swartz continues: “One positive trend that is apparent in taglines since the mid-1990s is the desire for community. If the Internet economy has taught us anything, it’s that we live in a globally interdependent world that shares a common humanity. Solutions for a small planet (IBM) and The world’s online marketplace (eBay) attest to that. So does the tagline Yo quiero Taco Bell, which reaches out to millions who appreciate the nuance it expresses. By the same token, Mastercard’s There are some things that money can’t buy and Kodak’s Share moments, share life affirm the notion that you can’t put a price on the really important things in life.”

On the whole, the most influential taglines and jingles of the last 57 years reveal the richness and diversity of American advertising, and highlight a unique form of expression that drives and defines the language and culture of branding. In the parlance of MasterCard, only one word can measure the true value of staking out a brand perception and position in your customer’s mind that will last for years and years: priceless.

TaglineGuru's president, Eric Swartz, has created taglines, names, and other branding concepts for more than 80 organizations, including Adaptec, Apple Computer, CMP Media, FedEx, Sun Microsystems, and Wells Fargo. Founded in 2005, TaglineGuru is the only site to demystify the tagline development process by focusing on the message alignment, integration, and packaging strategies that shape effective branding and positioning choices.

For more information about www.TaglineGuru.com or this survey, contact Eric Swartz at 650.573.9009 or eric@taglineguru.com.

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