The Science of a Slogan

Good to the Last Drop“Good to the last drop.” We’ve all heard it, or read it, many times in our lives. But did you know that these five little words have been Maxwell House’s slogan for more than 90 years? Which begs the question, what’s required if you’re going to create a slogan that your audience will remember?

The basic rules of marketing tell us that a slogan is one of the most public pieces of a brand’s positioning. Because of this, a slogan needs to stand for something with a little higher purpose – For instance, Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” has spoken to athletes the world over for nearly 20 years. Why? Because, deep-down, it gives us all permission to go for it rather than think about it.

Unfortunately, the majority of slogans will not stand the test of time. For years, companies like McDonald’s, Allstate and FedEx have tinkered with their slogans over and over again as their audiences and industries changed. Ultimately, a brand’s slogan and subsequent positioning need to tap into the motivations and desires of the target audience and grow as they grow while not promising more than you’re able to deliver. Otherwise, you’re missing the point.

Once you’ve established a slogan though, it can be difficult to replace it even if circumstances change. In Maxwell House’s case, several attempts to update the slogan were unsuccessful and the company continued to go back to the original “Good to the last drop.” In the end, slogan-writing isn’t an exact science. The science of the slogan is more like trial and error with a little bit of strategy mixed in and once you find those golden words, don’t mess with perfection.

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