As we approach the new year, we can rest assured that a new catchphrase has firmly cemented itself into our lexicon in 2017: “Dilly Dilly!”
What does “Dilly Dilly” mean? Nothing, according to Bud Light, the purveyor of the commercial campaign that began the phrase. It’s just nonsense and fun.
“Dilly Dilly” isn’t the first advertising slogan to rise to catchphrase fame. Many brands have successfully turned a simple slogan into a pop culture icon over the years. And, the key to gaining notoriety isn’t as complicated as you think; all you need is a slogan that can hold its own ground.
Famous Slogans that Became Catchphrases
Some of our favorite slogans have truly stood the test of time. They weren’t just popular; they turned into common household phrases, and in some cases, shaped entire generations.
- “Often a bridesmaid but never a bride.” – Listerine Antiseptic
- “Don’t leave home without it.” – American Express Travelers Cheques
- “Plop Plop… Fizz Fizz… Oh what a relief it is!" – Alka Seltzer
- “Tastes great! Less filling!” – Miller Lite
- “Calgon, take me away.” – Calgon Bath Powder
- “Time to make the donuts!” – Dunkin’ Donuts
- “Where’s the beef?” – Wendy’s
- “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” – Grey Poupon Mustard
- “Would ya please pass the jelly?” – Polaner All Fruit
- “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.” – Butterfinger
- “It keeps going and going and going…” – Energizer Batteries
- “New York City?!” – Pace Picante Sauce
Anheuser-Busch, the company who produces Bud Light, isn’t new to the catchphrase scene. “Dilly Dilly” may be popular now, but the “Bud,” “Weis,” and “Er” frogs created a frenzy in 1995. From 1999 to 2002, they ran their “Whazzup” campaign, including the clever “Wasabi” commercial in 2000. These slogans are still prevalent in today’s pop culture.
Getting Your Slogan to Catch On
First and foremost, it's important to understand that a slogan is something you typically use to sell one product or service over one advertising campaign. Taglines, on the other hand, are permanent phrases that are used to describe your entire company as a whole.
While some taglines achieve catchphrase status (e.g., “Just Do It”), it is much easier for a slogan to get there. Unlike tested and true taglines, slogans are fresh and new. They have the unique ability to cause widespread excitement in today’s instantaneous, social-media savvy world.
8 Tips for Making a Great Slogan
- Keep it short, simple, and sweet. It’s hard for people to remember sentences. The shorter your slogan, the better.
- Provide rhythm, rhyming, or repetition. If it’s fun to say, people will say it. Make sure that it’s easy to read and say out loud.
- Make it funny. Humor isn’t always needed, but it can help. Just look at Anheuser-Busch.
- Remember that honesty is the best policy. Don’t say that you are something that you aren’t. Have you heard the saying, “any press is good press”? It doesn’t apply to brands.
- Speak to your target market. Who cares about what you are offering? If your audience is drawn to slang or certain words, incorporate them. Otherwise, keep your verbiage timeless.
- Stay consistent. Use one slogan throughout an entire advertising campaign, within multiple mediums. Patience is key; not every slogan is going to catch on overnight.
- Include what makes you special. Talk about what differentiates you in the marketplace. What product, service, or commitment is unique?
Give it the strength to stand alone. While this is somewhat ambiguous, consider what “Whazzup” and “Dilly Dilly” have done. You can find those slogans on everything from t-shirts to mugs. Can your slogan stand on its own?
Creating the perfect, catchy slogan can be a difficult process. Luckily, slogans aren’t meant to last forever. If one fails, try something else. Sometimes, you never know what will catch on.
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