Taglines: You’re Not Sending The Message You Think You Are

Your business’ tagline is an important element of your brand. It allows you and your business the opportunity to effectively communicate your brand culture while summarizing important values, products that you offer and just how awesome you are.

However, all too often, businesses intend to communicate one message and actually communicate a very different message. Today I’d like to take a look at two major brands. One that hits the mark time and time again with their tagline and one that’s sending the horribly wrong message to consumers.

The Best Or Nothing

Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to the automotive industry. Having invented the motor vehicle in the late 1800’s, Mercedes has always pioneered the way we move exploring highly innovative safety innovations, most prominently in the S-Class, and changing the way we move with stunning design and luxury. So what is the Mercedes-Benz tagline?

The Best Or Nothing

It seems fitting for the company that invented the car and continues to pioneer amazing innovation in safety to offer a vehicle that is truly the best or nothing at all. Their tagline is often backed with marketing material highlighting the strict and meticulous process by which a new Mercedes is created. Sometimes even taking 10 years to develop! All of this information is shared with the consumer in an honest forum from company executives to the hands that build the famous AMG engines.

So as you can see, the Mercedes-Benz tagline truly captures the overall culture, values and product of every Mercedes-Benz on the road. Great tagline Mercedes!

The Pursuit of Perfection

Lexus The Pursuit of Perfection

Like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota’s Lexus brand competes in the highly competitive luxury market. In this market consumers are often highly selective in the vehicle they choose and are often loyal to the brand they select.

Toyota’s Lexus brand has been the United States market since 1989, hardly the same amount of time as popular US choices such as Cadillac, Mercedes or BMW. However, Toyota’s reputation for reliable, and most recently, fuel-efficient vehicles have captured younger generations with their sporty alternative to other luxury brands.

However it seems that Toyota has made a shocking confession in their Lexus tagline, that Lexus is not perfect and is still exploring what it wishes to become.

It seems odd to tell consumers in such a competitive market bloated with tailored vehicles decorated with exotic materials that your car is yet to be considered by your own brand as perfect. (Especially considering the large number of recalls that Toyota has had in the past few years.) It is a strong contrast to Mercedes-Benz who goes to the extra mile to show the amount of attention and labor that pulls together the best cars for production.

However, is Lexus onto something? Well sort of.

How admitting imperfections can skyrocket sales.

Contrary to popular belief, being perfect will not always drive the sales you may think it will. To best understand this concept, let’s take a look at one of the greatest advertising campaigns, Volkswagen’s introduction of the Beetle to the United States.

Ugly Is Only Skin Deep

Ugly Is Only Skin Deep” was the campaign that launched the Beetle into automotive history. Though some may have thought this campaign could do damage and thus be an even worse contender in the tagline battle than Lexus. However, this campaign was so great it out performs Mercedes in our tagline battles.

It is important to note the psychological interpretation of the VW tagline. While Lexus admits their flaw in being less perfect than their competition, Volkswagen also provides a reason about why their imperfection is beneficial to their bottle line.

It may not be much to look at. But beneath that humble exterior beats an air-cooled engine. It won’t bail over and ruin your piston rings. It won’t freeze over and ruin your life. It’s in the back of the car for better traction in snow and sand. And it will give you about 29 miles to a gallon of gas.

Taglines Are The Art Of Psychology

As we’ve explored, taglines can be created with the one intention and perceived by the consumer with another. Great taglines can be created by great agencies, but so too can horrible ones. When creating your taglines, remember to run them through strict testing and analyse the multiple meanings. Persuasion is a tricky science but is a science. Do not ignore the psychological facts of your tagline development!

Because sometimes what seems like the best choice may turn into your largest nightmare.

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