Surprisingly enough (even to me!), I think not.
This morning James called my attention to a really great column from Al Ries that was published at adage.com a few days ago, “Long Slogans are Absolutely, Positively More Effective Than Short Ones.” Now, we work on the web where it’s a commonly agreed upon fact that your homepage has about three seconds to grab the attention of a viewer before they move on to something else that will, so right away I start running through all the reasons I disagree with Mr. Ries:
- Long isn’t catchy
- Long is too hard to remember
- People lose interest before you’ve made your point
- Long is too complicated
You can preface all of these arguments with “usually” because, of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally that’s where I stand on slogans. Short, simple and straightforward win the day.
Then, about a quarter of the way through the article, Mr. Ries gives a list of short slogans that he deems ineffective, followed by this statement:
Short slogans like these, in my opinion, are not very effective. And it’s not because they’re short; it’s because they’re not very memorable.
Hmmm. He might be on to something there.
So what does make a slogan memorable? According to Mr. Ries: Emotion.
Sure, slogans should be as short as possible, but there’s a trade-off. Slogans should be long enough to contain some words that knock on the right side of the consumer’s brain. The emotional side of the brain as opposed to the left side, the logical, analytical side.
Check out the original post to see some examples of both “good” and “bad” slogans, but here’s one of our own:
Our “official” slogan is “Strategy. Creativity. Technology.” That is absolutely the most succinct and simple way to describe us, but if I asked you what is was tomorrow, would you remember?
Now consider our homepage. We have a short little Flash animation that automatically runs if you’ve never been to the site before. It mimics someone typing in a word processor (which sounds boring, but actually isn’t – I swear ). At the climax, if you will, the screen reads “Thoughtprocess Interactive: a blend of strategy and creativity with a dash of techie geek.” “Geek” is then replaced with “chic .”
This is clearly a play on our tagline and essentially boils down to the exact same thing. But, I have never heard anyone refer to or even comment on our tagline. This 48 second Flash animation on the other hand gets rave reviews. It’s truly rare for a new client not to mention it in our first conversation.
If Mr. Ries is to be believed, that’s because the second example adds in just a handful of additional descriptive words that inject a little warmth and playfulness: otherwise known as emotion.