literary devices

What are some of the most enduring slogans and taglines? Think for a moment about the ones you really love, the ones that captured the essence of the brand while also capturing the attention of consumers. What makes them so special, and how can you do the same for your business?

Believe it or not, crafting a memorable slogan or tagline involves a lot more than simply putting words together. There is an art to it, an art that requires some knowledge of literary devices. Let’s examine some of your favorite slogans and taglines from the past and see how these literary devices were put to work for those brands.

Isocolon

This strange word just means that you use a particular cadence and rhythm to make the phrases memorable. It usually involves similar syllables in each phrase so that there’s a hint of repetition. Some very famous slogans and taglines include:

The few. The proud. The Marines.

Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Anthimeria

Have you ever heard someone make a verb into a noun or vice versa? Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “I heart you,” which is cringe-inducing for an English teacher, but perfectly acceptable in popular speech. Brands do the same thing—taking parts of speech and mixing them up for something fun with their taglines. Consider Ikea, Subway, and Apple:

Live unböring.

Eat fresh.

Think different.

Anastrophe

Some wordsmiths will rearrange words so that the order seems unusual, while the message still makes sense. If done correctly, your slogan will almost seem like poetry. Again, this one’s not easy to pull off, so it’s one of the lesser used techniques. Still, take a look at this tagline from Adidas:

Impossible is nothing.

Litotes

Have you ever heard a slogan that seems to downplay the amazingness of the brand or product? Using a double negative, such as “It’s not the worst thing in the world,” is a tongue-in-cheek way of emphasizing the greatness. One brand that used this particular device comes to mind:

Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.

Hyperbole

Perhaps one of the most commonly used literary device out there, hyperbole gives brands the chance to exaggerate their greatness without appearing conceited. It’s all done in fun, right? Think about Carlsberg beer’s slogan:

Probably the best beer in the world.

These devices prove that coming up with a slogan takes a lot of work, right? Not only must you pull together words that emphasize your brand’s unique value, but those words must also be memorable enough to stand the test of time.

What are some of the best slogans and taglines you’ve heard? Do they fit the devices mentioned here? We’d love to know more about your journey toward choosing the best words for your brand.