A good slogan (tagline) can be worth its weight in gold


Most slogans I hear fail to accomplish their purpose: to communicate a cogent, benefit-rich, memorable marketing message. Although attorneys usually don’t use slogans, the ones I’ve heard have almost always been bad. An attorney in Los Angeles has a slogan that works, however. Miles Berman, the self-proclaimed “Top Gun Dui” attorney, uses the following slogan as the tagline for his frequent radio commercials: “Because friends don’t let friends plead guilty.”

Why does this work? First, it plays on the familiar public service slogan used to promote the use of a designated driver, “Because friends don’t let friends drive drunk”. Berman’s version is tied to something that has been drilled into our heads by millions of dollars in public service advertising, and is thus familiar. In addition to being familiar, it’s relevant. Both slogans deal with different aspects of the same issue. And because it is familiar and relevant, it is memorable, the ideal of any slogan. Finally, the slogan does what few slogans ever do, it promises a benefit. In telling the listener not to plead guilty, it suggests that there are alternative solutions, and all they have to do to get them is to call the “Top Gun Dui Defense” attorney. Very effective.

Eric Swartz is a consultant who bills himself as “The Tagline Guru.” His web site presents the benefits of a good tagline and advice on how to create one. He also has a list of “The 100 Most Influential Taglines Since 1948.” I remember most of these, and you will, too. Good examples of taglines that have created household brands.

You don’t need a tagline, but if you use one, use one that works.

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  1. tom alder says:

    are you kidding me? This piece of sh_t takes a slogan that sends a constructive message and turns it on it’s head to sell his service of getting drunk drivers off the hot seat. Every time I hear his ad, I wonder if karma might one day pay a visit to Miles Berman in the form of a drunk driver smacking into him on the road. You couldn’t come up with a less repulsive example?

    • I know how you feel, Tom. It’s one reason I didn’t handle criminal cases. But in fairness, he’s not promoting driving drunk, he’s promoting protecting one’s rights. How would we feel if the DA’s office ran public service ads that said, “if you’ve been charged with DUI, do us all a favor and plead guilty”?