People take their favorite ads seriously–witness the huge response to Inc.com’s list last week of the “The 10 Best Slogans of All Time,” which popped up Wednesday on Digg.com and promptly touched off a groundswell of impassioned debate. From Tony the Tiger to milk moustaches, many PR campaigns have left a lasting impression on people. Here are some of the best nominations from Digg.com users.
Inc.com named Apple’s “Think Different,” Wheaties’ “Breakfast of Champions,” Maxwell House’s “Good to the Last Drop,” and—who could forget?—Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” among others. But one Digger wondered, “Where’s I’ve fallen and I can’t get up?” and another called M&Ms claim to “melt in your mouth, not in your hands” a “dirty, rotten lie.” Many alternatives to the top 10 were proposed, including Alka Seltzer’s “Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz” and Pepto Bismol’s “Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea.” More than one Digger complained about the omission of “A Diamond is Forever,” but there were few omissions on the encyclopedic list of 337 slogans posted by a Digger named slugicide.
In honor of slugicide and his ad-obsessed peers, we’ve culled some of the best nominations from Digg.com users . Want to add your own? Just do it.
The Hit Parade
“A Diamond is Forever.” Created by N.W. Ayer & Sons, Inc. for De Beers, this slogan has been in use since 1948, ever since Frances Gerety, a young copywriter, dreamed up the famous line in her sleep. Thanks to the 1971 James Bond flick starring Sean Connery, this slogan remains etched in our minds—probably forever.
“They’re G-r-r-r-eat!” Back in the 1950s, Tony the Tiger growled his way into American consciousness with this memorable slogan for Frosted Flakes. Tony’s catchphrase has become one of the longest running and most recognized slogans in TV advertising history. According to AdAge.com, Tony the Tiger’s character has evolved over the years: he stands upright rather than on all fours, has traveled to more than 42 countries, and has a wife and a daughter.
“Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break” Since 1957, Kit Kat’s slogan has been “Have a break…Have a Kit Kat.” The commercials really took off in the ‘80s when boardrooms and newsrooms were shown breaking into song over a chocolaty wafer bar called Kit Kat.
“Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat” Probably the most famous jingle in American advertising history, the first Rice-A-Roni commercial aired in 1959 and turned a sleepy family business, the Golden Grain Macaroni Company, into a food powerhouse that was bought by Quaker Oats in 1986 for $275 million.
“Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux.” Beginning in the 1960s, the Swedish vacuum maker used this slogan to market its machines to an international audience. Many Americans believed the off-color slogan to be an error in translation. Rather than an idiomatic blunder, however, Electrolux’s campaign was an edgy pun.
“The Best Part of Waking up is Folgers in Your Cup” This line has been featured in every Folgers commercial since the 1960s. Throughout the years, the jingle has been rearranged and performed by many famous musicians, including Randy Travis and Aretha Franklin.
“Hey Mikey…He Likes It!” Created by the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency in 1972 to promote Life cereal, this commercial featured three brothers at a breakfast table daring one another to try a bowl of the “healthy” cereal. Little Mikey, who usually “hates everything,” dives in and quickly devours it, to his brothers’ amazement. When child actor John Gilchrist Jr. outgrew the role, an urban legend claimed he’d been killed by a lethal dose of Pop Rocks and soda. Hardly. He’s still alive and working in movies—as a grip.
“Don’t Leave Home Without It.” In 1975, Ogilvy & Mather created this slogan for American Express. The commercials were among the first to include celebrity cameos, including Jim Henson, Stephen King, and Jerry Seinfeld. In 1985, BBDO responded with “Visa, It’s Everywhere You Want to Be.” And not to be outdone in the plastic slogan war, in 1997, MasterCard brought the heat with “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” Priceless.
“Nothing Outlasts the Energizer. It Keeps Going, and Going…” Produced by DDB Chicago Advertising for Energizer since the 1980s, this is the ageless slogan that accompanied the cool bass-drum-beating, shades-wearing pink bunny that has appeared on more TV shows and movies than the Baldwins.
“By Mennen!” A remarkably successful slogan considering its blithe simplicity, Mennen’s ‘80s slogan accompanied by that three-note jingle proved to the world how easily we are drawn in by simple sounds, pleasures, and deodorants. Mennen is also known for manufacturing “Teen Spirit” deodorant, immortalized in an upbeat little jingle by Nirvana.
“Pardon Me, But Do You Have any Grey Poupon?” Created for Grey Poupon by Lowe & Partners in the 1980s, this ad campaign featured a gentleman eating dinner in the back of his chauffeured car. At a stop sign, another aristocrat pulls alongside the car, rolls down his window, and asks for a spot of the ole Poupon. The strangely effective commercial has been parodied countless times in the real world and in fiction, perhaps most memorably in “Wayne’s World.”
“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Beginning in 1987, Life Alert ran this campaign for senior citizens who experienced medical emergencies while alone. There have been enough allusions to this ad in pop-culture to warrant a list of its own, but Will Ferrell falling off a cliff in Austin Powers only to shout “Help! I’ve fallen down a cliff, and I can’t get up” is a fan favorite.
“This is your brain on drugs.” Launched in 1987 as a large-scale anti-narcotics campaign by a Partnership for a Drug-Free America, this PSA featured an egg (“This is your brain”) and an egg frying in a pan (“This is your brain on drugs.”)
“Be Like Mike.” Created by Bayer Bess Vanderwarker for Gatorade in 1991, this slogan motivated millions of driveway ballers to stick out their tongues and do their best Jordan. Michael Phelps said that this campaign had inspired him to greatness as a youngster. (“Growing up, I always remembered the ‘I want to be like Mike’ ads with Jordan.”)
“Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.” In 1992, in the face of declining beef consumption, Leo Burnett Worldwide came up with this memorable slogan (apparently recognized by over 88% of Americans) for The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Accompanied by music from the ballet “Rodeo” by Aaron Copland, this cultured campaign was long the bane of vegetarians everywhere.
“Snap into a Slim Jim” 1992 campaign featured wrestlers Macho Man Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior yelling and ripping things while attempting to convince American kids that it was cool, and maybe even tough, to eat ConAgra’s snack of beef and mechanically separated chicken parts.
“Got Milk?” Created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board, this campaign kicked off in October 1993 with a commercial about a history buff who receives a call to answer a $10,000 trivia question, “Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?” Because of a mouthful of peanut butter, his answer is unintelligible and his chance at fortune is squandered. The ad, directed by Michael Bay (“The Rock,” “Transformers”), was named one of the ten best commercials of all time in a USA Today poll.
“Do the Dew” In 1993, Mountain Dew carved a niche for itself in the culture of “extreme sports,” with commercials that featured daredevil stunts, juxtaposed with a bunch of teenage guys saying “been there, done that.” Coupled with its sponsorship of the X Games, Mountain Dew became popular with athletes and slackers alike.
“Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop.” Procter & Gamble spent loads of cash getting this ’90s Pringles slogan stuck in our heads. Who could forget these Stomp-esque ads, that convinced us that our chips didn’t have to come in bags to be percussive?
“What happens here, stays here.” R&R Partners’ 2003 TV campaign for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority featured various only-in-Sin-City scenarios (a newly minted bride dashing from her quickie wedding to a conference, etc.) and a sexy tag line that rapidly became part of the public lexicon, inspiring innumerable spoofs and even a romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz.
“Hooray Beer!” Launched in 2006 by BBDO, Red Stripe’s ad campaign was big on the Internet, pointing out life’s little annoyances and letting the Red Stripe Ambassador (a stately Jamaican guy wearing a sash) “BOO” them: “Boo annoying children, Hooray Beer!”