After showing a big dip, could a slogan revival be on the way?

By our News Team | 2022

Slogans are an important aid to branding and advertising engagement, so why has their use been declining in recent years?

Slogans are catchy summaries of what a brand is all about. In these fast-moving times when gaining consumer attention is becoming an art form, why are these powerful tools that act as an aide-memoire for a brand and help to get it noticed, in decline?

Historically, slogans were a big part of advertising. In 2014, research company Kantar’s Link ad testing database showed 74% of ads contained a slogan. They were often associated with big, memorable brands that invested heavily in them and used them across campaigns.

Brand Slogans

Photo courtesy of Kantar

In a blog post published on the company website, Kantar’s Polly Wyn Jones notes that most ads using a slogan (85%) show it as written text. This could be part of the problem, she believes. Is it the case that in de-cluttering end frames, the slogan has been lost and deprioritised?

“The evolution of the website URL, which in theory contained all the information you need with respect to the brand, may have been partly to blame for this decline. Along with the issue of ‘too much writing on the screen’, is there space for a written slogan once the website URL and various hashtags are added? Possibly not,” she says.

By channel, we see 66% of TV ads using slogans, 48% of print and outdoor ads, and 44% of digital ads. We see further variance across digital ads, where 48% of YouTube ads contain them, compared to only 34% of Facebook ads.

“It seems only logical that slogans help with branding. However, simply including a slogan is not enough,” Wyn Jones advises.

Include the brand name and use it repeatedly

“To really help with branding, other factors are important – like including the brand name in the slogan and using it repeatedly so [that] it becomes an established branding cue. When these additional factors are included in TV ads, we see a +6-point increase in branding. How the slogan appears is also important. When the slogan is also sung, we see a +17-point increase in branding.”

So, what is the future of slogans? Wyn Jones says that although the slogan can be seen as a little old fashioned, Kantar’s evidence suggests they hold value. In a multi-channel world, linking your slogan across your campaign could now be more effective than ever. A vital key to creating fame and fortune for your brand.

She notes that newer channels like TikTok have created opportunities to evolve the traditional brand slogan into something that has morphed into a new form of interactivity. The hashtag challenge has become a way for brands to promote themselves.

“By incorporating the brand name in the hashtag, like Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins, which is used to also convey some of the ethos of the brand, you can push the limits further. A challenge that is hashtagged with a snappy slogan, containing both the brand name and summarises what your brand is about, will almost certainly aid memory and awareness,” Wyn Jones states.

“In a media world where campaign advertising needs to be adapted across the multitude of new channels available, the traditional slogan can be that glue that binds all your brand’s advertising together, adding strength to each touchpoint and [to] your campaign effectiveness as a whole. 

“Kantar’s AdReaction study ‘The Art of Integration’ showed evidence that consumers found logos and slogans to be the single most helpful way for them to link together advertising for one brand across different places.”