What is a Tagline?

Tagline Development
Getty Images / Thomas Barwick

Have you ever heard or read an advertisement that summarizes an entire ad by using a catchphrase? Chances are you have seen and become familiar with these statements, including phrases such as McDonald's "I'm Loving It" or Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now? Good.

To explain it simply: a tagline is a short description. But, let's examine the inner workings of a tagline so that we can understand how it is used.


What's the Purpose of a Tagline? 

To no surprise, taglines are created to leave a lasting effect during a short encounter with the recipient. If formed correctly, a tagline will summarize the overall benefit of what is being advertised. Whether it is a product, business, service, or idea, the tagline offers comprehensive information that can easily be remembered. In the end, a tagline should help the audience understand the bigger picture and leave them enticed and wanting more.  

What are the Different Styles of a Tagline? 

  • Humorous taglines will present an idea using sayings that will entertain the audience and create a sense of fun. 

  • Serious taglines are made to invoke overwhelming emotions; leading the viewer to take immediate action. 

  • Inspirational taglines will make people think more about common problems, and cause them to seek deeper answers regarding an issue. 

How Do You Develop a Tagline?  

  1. A tagline should be short. It's important to remember that a tagline should be like a hanging sticker that gives the viewer a quick description of quality components; rather than a book that details the entire story. 

  1. Be creative, and avoid making a bland, vague, or meaningless statement. Use dynamic verbs that will move the audience toward a problem area. 

  2. Offer a solution to the issue, and people will begin inventing their own reasons to take advantage of what is being advertised. 

  3. Use simple language that is clear, easy-to-read, and understandable. Focus on a friendly approach that will build a lasting connection with the viewers.

  1. Decorate with descriptive words that enliven the message and add deeper meaning. However, do not get too fancy with words that even an educated person would not use in academic writing. 

Are Jingles Different from a Tagline? 

Jingles are part of an extended category of taglines; where some jingles are taglines and some are not. A deciding factor about whether or not a jingle is a tagline is found in the length of the phrase or sentence. If the jingle progresses into a full song, it is more likely to be an anthem than a tagline. Furthermore, if the jingle is short and sweet with a sing-songy tune, it is a jingle type of tagline, and it can be used in many more places than the song can. Jingles can be an expensive marketing technique due to audio production and air-time, but they can be effective if used correctly. Lasting impressions created by companies like Oscar Meyer and K9 Advantix have surely benefited from catchy tunes.