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?
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.