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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Using a Tag Line

The importance of a tag line can not be underestimated. This was brought home recently at my son's Little League baseball game. These games can drag on. Only if you've sat on the sidelines do you understand. In order to keep the team spirit going, the kids tend to chant some type of encouragement to their buddies up at bat. Sometimes it makes me laugh, smile, and other times I would be very happy if they would sit in silence.

The game was going, and going, and usual. The coach had decided to trade out the pitcher once again, and we were all waiting for the warm-up to end so the game could commence. Once the batter was up in the box, the team players began their chant. It went something like this... "When I say Hillshire, you say 'Farms'... Hillshire..." (The team yells) "Farms!" and then the entire team yelled, "Go Meat!"  This refrain continued . . . "When I say Hillshire, you say Farms, Hillshire!" "Farms!" "Go Meat!" Over, and over again the kids yelled. Sitting in the stands the parents looked at each other, smiled in recognition at the commercial tag-line.  My younger children began giggling at the silliness.

What does a cold-cut commercial have to do with Little League baseball? Apparently the kids thought "Go Team" is similar to "Go Meat." I guess. The point is kids are sponges. I'm sure most of us watching the commercial (if you watch television) remember things we wish we wouldn't. The commercial industry knows this about our psyche. They have spent thousands of dollars on research and while we may consider a commercial an irritation, these little kids proved the money was well spent.

Let's look at this commercial's effectiveness:
1. Use of a simple tag line.
2. A chant that was easy to remember.
3. A "cheer" for a company product, in this case, "meat."
4. Tag line doesn't make sense, therefore we tend to remember it.

When I first heard the commercial it bothered me, because "meat" can't "go." And, you cheer for people, not meat! In fact each time I heard it I would think of it as illogical. The entire tag-line was being embedded deeper into my mind. When the children chanted this everyone in the stands, on both sides of the team heard this, and whether or not they were familiar with the commercial they would be more aware of it the next time.

Tag lines are very important. 

"Can you hear me now?"

What do you think when you hear a tag line? If you think of the company or how it is different than the competitor, that is the key. How about this tag line? "Using Words to Enlighten, Uplift and Inspire."  No, it's not mine, it belongs to Stacy Hawkins Adams. She is a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. Her tag line fits her mission. Her work. It is clear, strong and does what any good tag line should, nudges you to learn more. I have the privilege of interviewing Stacy on my Radio Show for Authors.

What is a  tag line? A tag line is also known as a slogan. The purpose is to convey a message. Whether it is about the company, a type of business or the individual. Many authors are known by their names which often appear in a larger font than even the title. A name tells you "who" but it doesn't tell you "what." If you are not as well known, what message do you want to convey? This is something you should give special consideration.

Good tag lines are:

1. Short
2. Catchy
3. Convey an idea
4. Implies more than it says
5. Will be repeated
6. Describes a value proposition
7. Includes key words
8. States your brand
9. Is clear
10. Is remembered

I think my mother had it right when she said, "Garbage in, garbage out." Think about it the next time you work on your tag line or when you are sitting at a Little League baseball game.


  1. I don't like meat much and this commercial really bothers me, but I remember it!

  2. And that is the entire purpose of this post! Now if we can only come up with a tag line that is memorable and liked, now that would be a winning combination.

  3. Thanks, Felice, your posts are always so helpful! Now I'm going back to my blogs to check my tag lines.