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June 29, 2006

Slogans: Invest in Rhyme – the Results are Sublime

In our recent blog post, , we wrote about the May 2006 Princeton University , which discussed how a company name can positively or negatively impact the value of its IPO stock. Short and pronounceable names were shown to affect the value of stock performance by as much as 333%.

PoetryThis same research uncovered some interesting findings about rhyme. According to the authors, people are also more inclined to believe statements that rhyme (e.g., woes unite foes is more believable than woes unite enemies). This has implications for taglines, slogans, product names, and even company names.

Naturally, this is good news for speakers of Romance languages to which rhyme is natural – but Germanic languages like English suffer from a . For example, nothing rhymes with poetry, orange, month, or business - come to think of it, nothing rhymes with nothing.

That doesn’t mean there are no brilliant marketing slogans that rhyme in English – there are. Or rather, there have been – since these perfect rhyme examples are all quite dated:

  • "The quicker picker-upper" (Bounty)
  • "Fill it to the rim with Brim"
  • "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"
  • "Don’t get mad. Get GLAD"
  • "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking" (Timex)

In the case of Brim, Glad and Electrolux, the slogans are made even stronger because the brand name is part of the tagline rhyme. Perhaps the longest, but best example of this is the slogan:

  • “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

Compare the above rhyming slogans to the dominating brand taglines of today. Which do you think are more memorable?

  • My Life. My Card. (American Express)
  • Safe Happens (VW)
  • Imagination at Work (GE)
  • I’m lovin’ it (McDonald’s)
  • It’s the Cola (Pepsi)

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Posted by Diane Prange at June 29, 2006 2:37 PM
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Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.

While I do agree that rhyming taglines are catchy, they are the things of the past. As you show, the dominating taglines no longer rhyme. But taglines nowadays are becoming generic to the point that they are interchangeable - One can easily switch one tagline with another without any notice. (The dominating taglines you list can also be easily ripped off and placed on another brand/company.) To put this to the test, I've listed the company and wrong tagline (

In an increasingly cluttered world on information overload, here's one vote for no taglines. Oh, and if you have some particularly heinous advertising tagline(s) you'd like to share, please do so. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Of the dominating taglines you listed - Imagination Happens works with GE because I think of Edison - Invention starts with Imagination. The American Express campaign is strong on branding that to live your life your way you use American Express - the My Life My Card works.

I've always been a commerical fanatic - grew up with most of the ones that rhyme you have here

one that was a big hit in the 70's no rhyme just "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific"


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