The Making of a Great Slogan: 5 Slogans with Staying Power

Slogans are a key part of branding for a business of any size.

by Heleigh Bostwick
updated May 26, 2022 ·  2min read

 “Just do it;” “When it rains, it pours;” “Good to the last drop.” We've all heard them, those catchy company slogans that suddenly take off and become part of our everyday vocabulary. But what makes a great slogan?

Slogans are an effective marketing tool for every company, big and small. In fact, a slogan is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways a business can market itself. Not only should a slogan be “catchy” and memorable, but it should also define your brand using just a few words.

But to do this, you need to have a clear vision of your company and product. You'll also need to ask yourself a few key questions such as what nouns and adjectives would you use to describe your brand? How do you think your customers would describe your brand and your company? With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the 20th century's best slogans.

1. Just Do It

The “Just do it” slogan (Nike, 1988) is one of the most famous slogans ever created, quickly becoming a pop culture icon. Interestingly, it is reported to have originated as an off-the-cuff remark made by an ad agency executive during a meeting with Nike. He commented on Nike's “can-do” attitude. 

2. Where's the Beef?

Created in 1984 for the fast-food chain Wendy's, the slogan first showed up in January of that year in a TV commercial featuring Clara Peller and two other women who had been served tiny hamburgers on large hamburger buns. Peller's comment, “Where's the beef?” skyrocketed her to fame and she became a household word—along with the catchy slogan.

3. Don't Leave Home Without It

Created for American Express in 1975 by Ogilvy & Mather, this slogan became the gold standard for credit card advertising. It wasn't until 10 years later, in 1985, that Visa followed up with its slogan, “Visa: It's Everywhere You Want to Be.” More than 20 years passed before the slogan for MasterCard, “There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard,” was created in 1997.

4. Melt in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand

One of the most memorable and long-lasting slogans to come out of the 1950s was this one. Created in 1954 by Rosser Reeves, it reflected the fact that the M&M's hard candy shell protected the chocolate on the inside of the candy from melting on your hands. Reeves, an advertising whiz who worked with several big companies, including Colgate, is also known for his campaign for the Republican Party in the 1950s.

5. Diamonds Are Forever

As popular today as it was when it was first created, this slogan has the distinction of being used as the name of a James Bond movie (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971). The famous De Beers company slogan was actually created in 1948 by Frances Gerety, a copywriter who worked for N.W. Ayer & Sons, Inc., and who is said to have dreamed up one of the most famous company taglines of all time…in her sleep.


The Best Advertising Slogans of All Time According to Digg Users. Rip Empson. Fast Company. September 3, 2008.

Wasting Money on Bad Advertising Slogans. Al Ries. AdAge. January 12, 2004.

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Heleigh Bostwick

About the Author

Heleigh Bostwick

Heleigh Bostwick has been writing for LegalZoom since 2006, touching on topics as diverse as estate planning and kids, c… Read more

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of the author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.