The Penultimate Word

Taglines: How to Make So Little Say So Much

What do you think about this tagline?

Karry-Lite – Takes the “lug” out of luggage

Did it create a vision in your mind? Did it give you an idea of what the company does? Did it tell you what sets Karry-Lite apart from its competitors? Did it give you a sense of the company’s personality?

Personally, I just LOVE this tagline. With a mere six words, it communicates so much. It breathes life into the Karry-Lite brand and makes it memorable.

A good tagline:

  • Identifies what you do or what your product does.
  • Includes your unique selling proposition (what makes you different from everyone else).
  • Expresses your personality.
  • Creates positive feelings toward the brand.
  • Reveals the key benefit.

KFC has one “finger lickin' good” tagline.Karry-Lite does all of that (which isn’t easy to do). Other favorites of mine include:

Timex – Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Polaroid – The fun develops instantly.

Kentucky Fried Chicken – Finger-lickin’ good!

FedEx – When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

Budweiser – The king of beers.

Parkay Margarine – The flavor says Butter.

Greyhound – Leave the driving to us.

In contrast, a bad tagline is one that may sound impressive, but really says nothing at all.  The words are empty and meaningless and could apply to anything from fertilizer to gourmet chocolate.  Below is a sampling of what I consider to be bad taglines. See if you can match the tagline with the company.


  1. Quality in everything we do.
  2. Pleasing people the world over.
  3. The power of dreams.
  4. Break out of the ordinary.
  5. No rules, just right.
  6. Experience success.
  7. We never stop working for you.
  8. Inspiration comes standard.
  9. Innovation.
  10. Excellence through total quality.
  11. Our force is your energy.
  12. We make it better.


  • Singer
  • Ames Rubber
  • Chrysler
  • Butterfingers
  • Holiday Inn
  • Olivetti
  • 3M
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Honda
  • Ernst & Young

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