1. Nike – Just do it

One of the most well-known slogans in the world, and for good reason. The folk over at Nike really got into the mind of potential customers here, and for those curious about the strange origins of the slogan you can click here.
Many of us will mull over a number of things before actually taking the plunge and doing a bit of sport, but we would all like to stop this if possible, right? Well here lies the key to Nike’s iconic ‘just do it’ campaign. The company is essentially telling people to keep going, and to not think about success until they have it. The slogan, as stated by Campaign magazine, ‘cut across age and class barriers’ and instilled in customers a sense of belief, thus making it one of the most successful slogans of the 20th century. Yep, there are not many three-word slogans that pack as big a punch.

2. Adidas – Impossible is nothing

There are a number of things going on here, but first it is clear that this slogan bears some similarities to our Nike friend above. It is tapping into the feelings and desires of the customer. While obviously seeking to retain existing customers, slogans like this are also looking to bring in new blood – a goal certainly achieved by this slogan. No matter what your goal – to lose weight, complete a marathon, or win a karate tournament – there will always be barriers in the way. People may tell you it is impossible, and here is where Adidas comes in.
A dream can seem so hard to achieve, but Adidas has turned that on its head by essentially taking the notion of ‘impossible’ and spitting on it. Campaigns related to this slogan have seen celebrities tell of their rags to riches story, and how their immense effort resulted from a desire to succeed. The slogan itself came from a Muhammed Ali quote which I have left below, and you can also click here to read all about the story behind this iconic expression.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
– Muhammad Ali

3. Volkswagen – think small

This slogan is one of the most successful to ever emerge from a marketing mind and changed the way people think about advertising. With this said however, something tells me it wouldn’t do as well these days. While it is quite obviously a twist on the traditional saying ‘think big’, and suits the product, it also seems to carry negative connotations. In actual fact, the Volkswagen is not the most luxurious car in the world, and present-day customers could well translate this slogan as thinking small might mean that you end up with an average car like this one. Today people are all about success, and focussed on achieving all of their goals. They do not want to think small, or have a small car. At the time of its release, this slogan changed the landscape of advertising, and while many campaigns have been inspired by it, times have now changed. Read a more detailed take on the ‘think small’ campaign here.

4. PlayStation – Live in your world. Play in ours.

Definitely a contender for top dog in this list, PlayStation’s ‘Live in your world. Play in ours.’ slogan encapsulates everything that the company stands for. The aim is to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, with gamers able to transport themselves from their everyday world into one free from stress, and full of zombies. With the slogan targeting a mostly younger cohort, the word ‘play’ is very fitting. Young professionals sat at desks all day could not be blamed for counting down the minutes until they can launch themselves into a playful, care-free world, bringing back memories of responsibility-less childhood days. For a great insight into the ‘double life’ ethos that fuelled PlayStation’s brilliant slogan, click here.

5. Harley Davidson – American by birth. Rebel by choice.

Slogans don’t really get more on point than this. For companies, slogans are all about saying everything they want to say in just a few words. Do this hit the nail on the head? It certainly does. The name Harley Davidson is synonymous with so many things – attitude, biker gang togetherness, and pride in being different. Americans are extremely patriotic, and so it is important to get across that Harley riders are choosing a true American product.
If a slogan can create imagery, then it has done its job, and I challenge all bike enthusiasts to read this without imagining themselves hitting the open road on a Harley, complete with dangerously cool leather jacket and shades that would make the Terminator proud. Just a fine example of how to appeal to the market you’re after, and convince fence-sitters to jump down on the Harley side.

So there they are. I’ve ranted and raved, now it’s time for you to tell me your thoughts. Look out below.

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