In a just world, a good product would not need a great tagline to sell itself. It would simply fly off the shelves by virtue of its superior quality, environmental credentials, and highly ethical and equitable treatment of its workforce. In a just world, customers would be interested in whether the product does what it says, whether it's healthy and high quality, and whether it is value for money. Secondary concerns would involve the sustainability of the product's manufacturing process and whether or not it was made in a place with adequate workers' rights protections, at a company that prizes proper non-discriminatory hiring practices.
We do not live in a just world. We live in a world full of advertising. That means that a mediocre or even a kind of terrible product with a great marketing effort behind it can soar to incredible heights just by the power of marketing. The right ad campaign can elevate a watery, indifferent beer from undrinkable to the must-have brew of the college kegel. It can make a boxy and not very safe car the fashion statement of its decade. Of course, it can also bring our attention to a great product we didn't know about or attach warm fuzzies and a sense of community or a childhood memory to something that was otherwise just a meaningless snack. That is the magic of advertising, a power that can be used for good or evil depending on who wields it.
How many of the advertisers' earworms are still in your noggin? Let's find out!
Which brand used the tagline "Waaaaassssssuuuuup?"
This was Budweiser's hugely succcessful 1990's ad campaign. It has now been parodied so much that it is basically beyond parody.
Which chip brand is sure that "Once you pop, you can't stop!"
Pringles gain their distinctive shape from the fact that they aren't technically a potato chip. Most chips are made by cutting potatoes. Pringles are made by smashing together a slurry of wheat, rice, corn, and potato then shaping it into the distinctive Pringle form.
Which cereal brand has the onomatopoeia "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" for a tagline?
This is a very popular Kellogg's rice cereal. Curiously, the founder of Kellogg's was actually a religious zealot whose first invention, Cornflakes, was designed to help prevent masturbation. It's not clear how he thought that eating a hearty breakfast helped with this, but he did.
Which candy bar exhorts you to, "Have a break. Have a ___"?
Kit-Kat was created by Rowntrees, the most ethical and socially aware company ever to make chocolate (they were Quakers and had a strong moral compass). They are now made by Nestle, who are perhaps not so easily described in that way.
Who assures you that with their products, you'll be saying, "That was easy"?
Staples sells everything you need to make your office work. They love offices. Indeed, they once got in a fight with the owner of the domain office.com, who refused to sell until they made him a seven-figure offer.
Which company went all over America asking, "Can You Hear Me Now? Good"?
Verizon is one of the big daddies of the communications industry in the USA. They had a huge success with an ad campaign in which a friendly everyman supposedly waked all over America checking whether people could hear him.
De Beers paid a lot of money to Hollywood stars to popularize the idea that diamonds are the ultimate jewel. Before that, any valuable gem was considered great for an engagement ring or a superior necklace.
What organization recruits you with the words, "The Few. The Proud. The ____"?
The Marines sometimes need to recruit, and this is how they do it. They aren't trying to claim there are a lot of them; the point is that hardly anyone is good enough to get in, but if you are, you must be the best.
Dunkin' is all about appealing to the salt-of-the-earth worker. Interestingly, brand observers show that even when a Starbucks and a Dunkin's are next door and offer coffee of equal quality for the same price, they don't get the same customers. People feel very strongly about which one they like!
What rather boring product sensibly assures us that "It Does Exactly What It Says on the Tin"?
Ronseal's advertising is incredibly boring on purpose. The product does what it says on the tin. If it says it will stain your wooden deck and make it weather resistant for five years, that's what it does. This is the marketing of a brand who knows its customer.