Top Ad Slogans of All Time

atkins-bookshelf-cultureIn a dimly lit, smoke-filled bar, somewhere in the wild west, a group of gruff, leathered-skinned gunslingers are playing cards. There is a palpable tension in the room — there’s something fishy going on. One of them snarls menacingly: “These cards are marked.” The second player expresses his disgust, “They’re a mess!” A third player, with a droopy left eye, chimes in: ” Yeah, a chocolate mess!” The dealer has been caught red-handed, or more precisely, chocolate-handed. It doesn’t look good for the card dealer — the cowboys are fixin to teach this chocolate-smeared chucklehead a valuable lesson. Outraged, the card players stand up in unison, drawing their six-shooters at the terrified dealer. Fortunately, two very jolly (and delicious) M&Ms step onto the scene — in the nick to time — to save the dealer’s hide: “Easy boys,” interjects the red M&M holding his hands up to the gun barrels, hoping to defuse the situation “the dirty dealer meant no harm. No chocolate mess with M&M’s chocolate candy.” The yellow M&M hops on a bag of M&Ms and, oblivious to wild west decorum, opens up the lower half of his shell (akin, perhaps, to dropping your pants) to reveal his milk chocolate center: “Candy sheel outside, milk chocolate inside.” As the relieved dealer places M&Ms in his mouth and shows the palm of his hand, free of any chocolate mess, the red M&M explains off-camera: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” The dealer offers a new deck to the players. The first gunslinger asks, with a slight smile: “Got any threes?” The droopy-eyed player responds in a drawl: “Go fish.” The red M&M concludes on a cheery note: “For good, clean fun every time, M&M’s chocolate candy. Plain and peanut.”

The late 50s and the two decades that followed are considered the Golden Age of Advertising. America was swept up by euphoria and optimism. The U.S. was going to put a man on the moon. The free-spirited and free-loving bell-bottomed flower children were ushering in the groovy Age of Aquarius, united by their anti-war, anti-establishment mantras. It was a time when people marveled at the simplest things. Americans were enchanted by the early televisions shows and entertaining commercials, like the introductory dirty dealer ad for M&Ms that first aired in the early 1960s. These were simpler times — Americans were not bombarded with round-the-clock tweets, emails, viral videos, and hundreds of TV channels — there were only three networks; and get this — they ended their broadcast soon after midnight every day. Advertisers concentrated their efforts in creating enduring characters and situations that every person, young and old, could relate to. In the process, they created memorable advertising slogans that reside in the collective consciousness of the nation, similar to songs of a bygone era, that not only define our pre-technologically obsessed culture, but more significantly, define our youth, our innocence. To hear some of these slogans again, evokes a profound nostalgia, bringing a smile, as if recalling an old friend; a brief glimpse of a page from your past.

In 1999, AdAge, the publication of the advertising industry, developed a list of the most influential slogans of all time (slogan followed by company):
1. Diamonds are forever – DeBeers
2. Just do it – Nike
3. The pause that refreshes – Coca-Cola
4. Tastes great, less filling – Miller Lite
5. We try harder – Avis
6. Good to the last drop – Maxwell House
7. Breakfast of champions – Wheaties
8. Does she or doesn’t she? – Clairol
9. When it rains, it pours – Morton Salt
10. Where’s the beef? – Wendy’s
11. Look Ma, no cavities! – Crest toothpaste
12. Let your fingers do the walking – Yellow Pages
13. Loose lips sink ships – public service
14. M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand – M&M candies
15. We bring good things to life – General Electric

Eric Swartz, a veteran branding expert, surveyed more than 400 advertising and marketing experts to arrive at the top 100 most influential tag lines since 1948. Here are the top 15 from that survey (slogan, followed by company and year of introduction):
1. Got milk? – California Milk Processor Board (1993)
2. Don’t leave home without it. – American Express (1975)
3. Just do it. – Nike (1988)
4. Where’s the beef? – Wendy’s (1984)
5. You’re in good hands with Allstate. – Allstate Insurance (1956)
6. Think different. – Apple (1998)
7. We try harder. Avis Rent-A-Car (1962)
8. Great taste… less filling! – Miller Brewing Company (1974)
9. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. – Mars, Inc. (1954)
10. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. – Timex (1956)
11. When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. – FedEx (1982)
12. Reach out and touch someone. – AT&T (1979)
13. A diamond is forever. – DeBeers Diamond Company (1948)
14. Finger-lickin’ good! – KFC (1952)
15. The uncola. – Seven-Up (1973)

Read related posts: Most Popular Candy Bars
The Most Admired People in the World

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