Advertising slogans are claimed to be, and often prove to be , the most effective means of drawing attention to one or more aspects of a product. Typically they make claims about being the best quality, providing an important benefit or solution, or being most suitable for the potential customer.
At the start of World War I, when modern advertising was in its infancy, a famous poster called on young British men to heed the need expressed by one of Britain's foremost soldiers, Lord Kitchener, and volunteer to serve their country. The famous slogan "Your Country Needs You" was heard around the world. Still today America uses a variant of this slogan (Uncle Sam needs You, or The Army needs you).
Advertising slogans often play a large part in the interplay between rival companies. An effective slogan usually:
- states the main benefits of the product or brand for the potential user or buyer
- implies a distinction between it and other firms' products - of course, within the usual legal constraints
- makes a simple, direct, concise, crisp, and apt statement
- is often witty, if it is required as not all advertising slogans are meant to be witty
- adopts a distinct "personality" of its own
- gives a credible impression of a brand or product
- makes the consumer feel "good"
- makes the consumer feel a desire or need
- is hard to forget - it adheres to one's memory (whether one likes it or not), especially if it is accompanied by mnemonic devices, such as jingles, ditties, pictures or film sequences on televised commercials.
Advertising slogans are subject to ethical constraints and are often viewed with reservations, if not actual misgivings by official bodies, such as the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, or the European Advertising Standards Alliance who claim to have a responsibility to the public good and whose decision making follows an Advertising Code. Similar organizations exist in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, as well as other countries.