The Perfect Tagline: Worth a Thousand Words

May 12, 2010 | by BatesMeron

Powerful taglines are like a company’s life flashing before your eyes – a whirlwind of products, features, benefits, target markets, experiences and personalities whizzing by in a handful of words. But contrary to near-death experiences, great taglines breathe life into brands.

In his opinion piece “Why Taglines Are Keepers,” Adweek contributor Jim Morris laments an ad-industry tagline recession and forecasts a rediscovery of the recently neglected art.

Like Morris, I find it regrettable that some ad agencies have shifted away from taglines in this age of soundbites and text-speak. Short, concise phrases are not just de rigeur in everyday parlance – in my previous days as a lawyer, I witnessed a shift away from convoluted legalese toward “short and sweet” language.

As a newly minted account manager and copywriter at BatesMeron, I’ve enjoyed discovering what clients do best and then whittling their message down to a few memorable words. Much like legal writing, branding requires distilled arguments and a concise message. Unlike legal writing, the process draws from both sides of the brain.

There aren’t too many feelings like the dopamine-infused epiphany accompanying the discovery of a perfect tagline. Because like a picture, the right tagline is worth a thousand words.

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