Terrific Tag Lines Use Words To Tickle And Tantalize
By Marcia Yudkin
Every year, the ceremony for the Webby Awards - the online equivalent to Oscars and Grammies - gets extensive publicity at least partly because of a quirky rule regarding acceptance speeches. Winners coming up to the podium to accept their awards may speak just five words.
This limitation generally spawns scrumptiously creative verbal concoctions that word-loving journalists can easily build a fun-to-read story around.
These are a few of my favorite five-word offerings:
Lonely Planet Guidebooks: "Love your country. Leave it."
Home and Garden Television Online: "Where paint drying is inspirational."
E*Trade Financial: "Pleasure in paying bills... almost."
Newzealand.com: "New Zealand: More Than Hobbits!"
All four of these zingers take a conventional idea related to their subject and turn it on its head.
They remind me of tag lines, the subheads that follow a business name on web site banners, newsletter mastheads, business cards, billboards and other ads.
In those contexts, space is at a premium. The tag line must explain what's distinctive about the business in a compressed, catchy way.
Tips for Generating Tag Lines
1. What's featured in the tag line should be something that benefits the customer or client. So begin by brainstorming a list of what the client gets from doing business with the company in question. What's distinctive about the way this company does business or what it offers customers?
2. Added to that should be some snappy element - either alliteration (repeated initial sounds), rhyme, paradox, contrast, a twist on some conventional saying or unexpected word choices. Play around with words at this point. Pretend you're a poet, a kid, a gangland rapper, a late-night comedian, a punster.
3. Tag lines should normally be less than 10 words - even better, five words or less.
4. Make sure the point in the tag line cannot be validly applied to every business in the industry. In that case, notes venture capital guru Guy Kawasaki, it really says nothing. Wherever possible, a tag line should highlight what's distinctive about a company, product or service.
5. Does the tag line need a long, involved explanation? If so, give it the boot. The tag line should be self-explanatory.
A great tag line, to use the five-word Webby format... Melts in their ears. Persuades.
About the Author
Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and ten other books hailed for outstanding creativity. Find out more about her new discount naming company, Named At Last, which brainstorms tag lines, company names, new product names and more for entrepreneurs on a budget, at http://www.NamedAtLast.com
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