| March 17, 2014
Last week, Charles Foster sent me a link to a news article announcing the potential demise of a time-honored slogan. Writing in the UK’s The Telegraph, Andrew Cave suggested that Mr. Kipling might no longer use the slogan “exceedingly good cakes.” To any self-respecting Brit, this is horrifying. What is the world coming to?
News of the famous slogan’s demise, however, was greatly exaggerated. In spite of the story being covered in numerous media outlets, Mr. Kipling recently announced that “Mr. Kipling does not do rumours, but he does make exceedingly good cakes.” Phew! Keep calm and carry on seems to be the order of the day.
The furor surrounding the potential demise of “exceedingly good cakes” points to the huge impact that a good slogan can have. Another post on The Telegraph by Harry Wallop, suggesting he was slightly appalled at the possible disappearance of the slogan, garnered 84 comments (some of them even relevant to the topic).
So what does make a good slogan? Wallop quotes Simon Horobin, professor of English at Magdalen, Oxford, as follows:
Slogans work best when they are short, simple and catchy. Often they give the impression of stating truths universally acknowledged, which cannot be questioned: 'The Real Thing’; 'It’s Good to Talk’.
True, many slogans do seek to give the impression of stating the truth – The World’s Favorite Airline, The World’s Local Bank, A Diamond is Forever – but I suspect that there is another factor at work. Simple repetition. Far from familiarity breeding contempt, repetition may actually make us fonder of something than we would be otherwise.
So what is your favorite slogan? Are slogans a thing of the past? Please share your thoughts.