Slogans, Power And Deception

June 8, 2010 · 8 comments

Adolf Hitler said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

Like so many things in life that are illogical, slogans work. What exactly is a slogan? Slogans are verbal logos. It is a catch phrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product, idea, dogma, company, political candidate or even a philosophy of life. For example, who can forget shit happens.

Seth Godin wrote, as usual, an interesting post about slogans. This started me thinking about advertising – especially political ads – and ignorance of facts. Who are slogans written for, and why are they so powerful?

Who are slogans written for, and why are they so powerful?

They are the stuff of bumper stickers and mind-numbing clichés. At times they are evil and cause great harm. The Nazis used slogans (Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (‘One People, One Nation, One Leader’) in WWII Germany. Other slogans may be helpful, or at least inspiring. IBM’s famous “THINK” hanging in every office, was invented in the 1920s. Even the laptop, ©ThinkPad echos this simple yet powerful slogan.

Godin has combined a bit of irony with selling products. If you want to sell something, create a great slogan.  The key, the essential aspect of a good slogan is long term effect. Don’t be an idiot, don’t be the person who creates the slogan that may come back to haunt you, as in Drill baby drill.

Although some slogans are cutesy, (Eat well, stay fit, die anyway), they are usually baseless, nothing but a connector, a commonality to hold together a group.
I try never to base decisions on slogans, the exception being THINK. Cute or not, most are the big lie.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy Murray June 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

Of course, you also have “Think Different”!

I’m OK with slogans in marketing, but I’m very nervous around people that spout them continually as part of their politics and daily life. It’s a sign that there’s groupthink going on, or more likely, no thinking at all.

Great stuff.
Randy Murray´s last blog ..Put Your Knowledge And Passion To Work

Hal Brown June 8, 2010 at 7:26 am

Thanks Randy. I have no problem with product slogans either. In fact, a slogan may be one of the most powerful aspects of marketing. Sometimes they are downright funny as well.

Paul Olyslager June 8, 2010 at 8:17 am

I always liked Apple’s older slogan: “Think outside the box”. Not only does it represent the Apple’s philosophy but also the one of their targeted audience. That is the true power of slogans, to feel connected with the brand.
Paul Olyslager´s last blog ..5 quick and easy ways to improve your website’s usabilityMy ComLuv Profile

Hal Brown June 8, 2010 at 9:23 am

I like certain slogans as well. Once an image is created, it is hard to undo it. Slogans work.

Mari June 8, 2010 at 9:09 am

Hal,
Your Hitler quote connected me to an old Seinfeld line by George Costanza. I found a 2 minute video example that combines George’s philosophy with, well, you’ll see…a few more familiar faces and their now-too-familiar personal slogans.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaFmJsEIMyQ

Hal Brown June 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

Super video. Double-speak and twisted logic. This could be the slogan for the world as it is now. I like that.
“And this above all, to thine own self be true…”
I suppose that is just so old school anymore.
Thanks Mari.

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