Political season is upon us. Accomplished, passionate men and women are vying for the country’s attention and your vote. Since candidates don’t get to talk in person to most of the people they’re trying to woo, their fate is, for the most part, decided by content marketing. Yes, content marketing, just like your small business.
Taglines, or campaign slogans, are one of the most visible pieces of content marketing for candidates. You see taglines on hats, shirts, signs, commercials … everywhere. Even if you don’t know anything about a particular candidate, you’ll know their tagline … if it’s a good one.
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s presidential campaign slogans and see if they meet the persuasive standards we work from in the marketing world.
Jeb! Jeb Bush
The award for the laziest, most substance-lacking presidential campaign slogan goes to….
Hillary for America - Hillary Clinton; Gilmore for America - Jim Gilmore; Kasich for Us - John Kasich
Look, I totally understand the reasoning behind putting your name in your slogan. After all, it’s your name you’re trying to get people to remember. But don’t just say your name. Say something. Anything. Are you politicians or 10th
We Must Do Right and Risk the Consequences. Rick Perry
Risk the consequences? What? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that inserting ominous overtones into your campaign slogans isn’t a good plan.
Telling It Like It Is. Chris Christie
Every person I know who says they “tell it like it is” uses that as an excuse to be a rude, self-absorbed jerk. Plus, there’s no action in the sentence. Who wants a commander in chief that’s all talk? Where’s the action
A Political Revolution Is Coming. Bernie Sanders
Bernie and Rick Santorum must be using the same copywriter
, who wears all black and watches nothing but horror films. When does the phrase “political revolution” conjure up anything but images of riots and people wearing funny hats carrying guns?
Make America Great Again. Donald Trump
“Borrowing” from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 “Let’s Make America Great Again,” this concise, easy-to-remember slogan’s got everything a candidate needs to make it to the White House. It plays on the wording of a party powerhouse, and it implies the simplicity of regaining what we already had -- not reinventing the wheel. It bubbles over with optimism. This one’s a winner.
Restore the American Dream for Hardworking Families. Rick Santorum
Fitting “American Dream
” and “hardworking families” into one sentence makes this slogan too long, but it also lends all the power to this sentiment. Since most voters consider themselves part of “hardworking families,” the slogan speaks right to its target audience
. Notice how none of the other slogans actually addresses the people they’re trying to reach. Putting the word “hardworking families” in the slogan is akin to an accountant using a tagline like “CPA specializing in SCUBA instructors.” If you’re a SCUBA instructor, you KNOW this guy should be on your team.
Defeat the Washington Machine. Unleash the American Dream. Rand Paul
Rhymes are so easy to remember and process, making this a great stab at a presidential campaign slogan. But this is just too damn long. How is it going to fit on a hat? This tagline’s got powerful, visual words that make me think of the political commentary in Orwell’s “1984” and Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” But you really shouldn’t expect your supporters to memorize a soliloquy. It won’t work.
Heal. Inspire. Revive. Dr. Ben Carson
This would make a great tagline for a vitamin company or a therapist, but not a president. Presidents aren’t here to hug us and make us chamomile tea. That’s what our moms do. For a presidential campaign, this tagline doesn’t have the oomph it needs to inspire voters. It is, however, catchy. Bonus points for using only three words.
Reigniting the Promise of America. Ted Cruz
Reigniting. Oh, that word gives me the “words that work” shivers. But what promise are we talking about, here? There’s an essence of religious overtones in the word “promise,” which, for Cruz, was probably intended. But it’s too vague. Vagueness is not inciting.
Want a truly presidential tagline for your small business?
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