8 brilliant straplines

Uncategorized By Josanne Griffin-Mason, 21st January 2015

A decent strapline is paramount if you hope to push any sales.

It needs to look good and sound good – plus it has to succinctly sum up your product without getting you in to trouble. After all, you don’t want a potential court case on your hands, à la Red Bull who were threatened with an £8 million1 lawsuit when a customer pointed out that the fizzy drink didn’t actually give him wings.

With that in mind, we’ve pinpointed eight brilliant straplines that are clever and effective.

1. Just Do It – Nike

Whilst Reebok were busy marketing to aerobics fanatics during the fitness craze that dominated the 80s, Nike decided to gun for everyone with their tough, take-no-prisoners campaign.

Coined at a marketing agency meeting in 1988, the motto was born to represent every individual, regardless of age, gender, or fitness level – and the fearless slogan remains at the brand’s core to this day. In fact, it’s so inclusive that 80%2 of Nike’s running shoes aren’t even used to run in!

2. In space, no one can hear you scream – Alien

The scariest strapline this side of the troposphere.

Used to promote the 1979 science-fiction horror film, the terrifying tagline evokes sheer claustrophobic, isolated panic. And it worked – Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed breakthrough generated £69 million3 at the box office.

3. Labour Isn’t Working – British Conservative Party

Voted by Campaign as the ‘Best Poster of the Century’, the valiant advert was conjured by Saatchi & Saatchi for the lead-up to the 1979 general election.

The poster depicted a snaking dole queue outside of a job centre, with the unapologetic strapline featured boldly across the image, and followed by the resolution ‘Britain’s better off with the Conservatives’.

That year, the Conservative Party won with a 43-seat majority, and Margaret Thatcher become Europe’s first female head of government.

4. Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin – Ronseal

Most companies spend years fawning over hyperboles to make their products more appealing, but not Ronseal.

In 1994, the woodstain and wood-dye manufacturer was so confident in their product that they ran with, what is quite possibly, the un-fluffiest strapline out there.

Today, the phrase (which Ronseal have subsequently trademarked) is used as a common colloquialism in the UK to indicate when no further explanation is required.

5. Have a break… have a Kit Kat – Kit Kat

Another marketing slogan that has infiltrated everyday language comes from Kit Kat’s infamous ‘Have a break…’ campaign.

Launched in 1958, the strapline encapsulates the entire experience of eating a Kit Kat bar, from breaking the chocolate biscuit in to bite size chunks, to the utilisation of key snacking opportunities.

However, it’s the enduring word association with the common ‘have a break’ idiom that most brands could only dream of achieving.

6. Reassuringly Expensive – Stella Artois

How do you turn a high price point in to a positive? You explicitly tell customers that it’s because premium lager is better than cheaper brands.

The strapline, which ran in the UK from 1982 until 2007, is also pretty funny too. After all, this isn’t a luxury car we’re talking about here – it’s lager – and how expensive can a pint of Stella really be?!

7. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – Las Vegas tourism department

In 2003, Vegas needed to be branded for something other than gambling, and that’s when this iconic slogan was cooked up.

Based on the human desire for freedom, the campaign invites tourists to be the person they can’t be at home – to do things, see things, eat things, wear things and feel all of the things that their routine lives won’t allow.

Record-breaking visitor numbers have accumulated and persisted since the inception of the campaign, even amidst the recession – as did that ‘Hangover’ trilogy, which this strapline inspired.

8. Love it or Hate it – Marmite

It’s a risky move to admit that half of your audience will hate your product, but in 1996, Marmite took the honesty-works-best approach.

The marmite love/hate campaign has pervaded the national consciousness so deeply that it’s now perfectly viable to describe anything that polarises opinion as ‘marmite’ – yes, we’re looking at you Justin Bieber.

1 Telegraph, 2014. $13m lawsuit proves Red Bull doesn’t give you wings. [Online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11155731/13m-lawsuit-proves-Red-Bull-doesnt-give-you-wings.html.
2 Center for Applied Research, 2010. Mini-case Study: Nike’s “Just Do It” Advertising Campaign. [Online] Available at: https://udoc.eu/docs/b0c524/mini-case-study-nike-s-%2522just-do-it%2522-advertising-campaign-center-for-applied-research#.
3 Box Office Mojo, 2015. Alien. [Online] Available at: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=alien.htm.