Behind Every Famous Slogan is an Interesting Story

Inarguably, a brand slogan is one of the most crucial elements of a product’s success (or downfall). It is also safe to say that many iconic brand slogans in history have their fair share of highs and lows in their campaign. Sometimes, it’s not only proliferating financial gain that’s the measurement of how successful the campaign is.


But what’s also perhaps equally interesting to learn are the stories behind these legendary brand slogans – how they were conceptualized, the feats and controversies they’ve gone through, the little-known history behind their meaning (especially those seemingly harmless slogans that in reality, suggests a darker, underlying story).





California Milk Processor Board

“Got Milk?”


Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

This particular campaign has numerous celebrities and other famous personalities posing in print advertisements with a “milk mustache”, and the grammatically incorrect slogan written and even voiced over on commercials. This was just the first among many other initial disagreements with the slogan, that it was “lazy” as well. Jeff Goodby came up with the now-iconic line, saying that he just “scrawled ‘got milk?’ on a poster board for a meeting and decided it might be a tagline.’”








“I Want My MTV”


Creator: Dale Pon/Nancy Podbielniak

Although George Lois, an American art director, designer, and author, took credit for the slogan, there was a debate as to who actually came up with the phrase. But according to the book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, it was in fact, Dale Pon and his creative partner, Nancy Podbielniak, who coined the phrase.


According to Fred Seibert, MTV’s first creative director, the story goes, “The whole thing was the work of my mentor and friend Dale Pon… In  late 1981, when it came time for us to hire an advertising agency again —at first, our big boss had vetoed Dale as not heavy enough for a company like ours— with a lot of help from my immediate supervisor Bob Pittman, I was able to convince everyone that Dale understood media promotion better than anyone else in America. Besides, didn’t he have ‘insurance’ with his partner, legendary adman George Lois? Looking back, the core creative ended up being the most straightforward part. Dale’s closest friend and creative partner, Nancy Podbielniak had written the cable brats copy and had a tag line ‘Rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t enough for them — now they want their MTV!’ That rung a bell in George Lois, someone who never missed a chance to abscond with someone else’s good idea, and decided to rip off his own knock off of a Maypo campaign from the 1950s and 60s (animator John Hubley originated it as a set famous animated spots, and George had unsuccessfully knocked it off using sports stars) and presented a storyboard that completely duplicated his version. Rock stars like Mick Jagger were saying ‘I Want My MTV’ and crying like babies, implying they were spoiled children being denied. No one was buying it until Dale let me know that there was no way he’d ask Pete Townshend or Mick to cry for us. ‘Pride! They need to show their pride in rock ‘n’ roll! They’ll be shouting!’ After a little corporate fuss we were able to sell it in.”






“Think Different”


Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day

Today’s most valuable company has always been unconventional, even in its early days. TBWA\Chiat\Day, the American division of the advertising agency TBWA Worldwide, was commissioned to do the campaign, and was, in fact, initially not up to Apple founder, the late Steve Jobs’ standards. But eventually, according to TBWA\Chiat\Day creative Ken Segall, “The team quickly came to the conclusion that Apple isn’t like other companies. It doesn’t follow the rules. It thinks different. With the concept in focus, it was now just a matter of developing the campaign that could best deliver it. We went down many roads – with and without a human presence, with and without mice (yes, mice). The breakthrough came when we stepped back and realized that the spark driving Apple existed long before Apple. In fact, it existed long before electricity. The ability to think creatively is one of the great catalysts of civilization. So the logic seemed natural: why not show what kind of company Apple is by celebrating the people Apple admires? Let’s acknowledge the most remarkable people – past and present – who ‘change things’ and ‘push the human race forward’.”






City of Las Vegas

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”


Agency: R&R Partners

Whether or not you have visited Las Vegas, Nevada, known to the world as the “City of Sin,” there’s a chance that you’re familiar with its branding, a philosophy that attributes to living a little, away from their realities.

It was in 1998 when Mark E. Brown of R&R Partners firm conceptualized the slogan, based on the direction of a case study, which, according to The Week, the study discovered that “The emotional bond between Las Vegas and its customers was freedom. Freedom on two levels. Freedom to do things, see things, eat things, wear things, feel things. In short, the freedom to be someone we couldn’t be at home. And freedom from whatever we wanted to leave behind in our daily lives. Just thinking about Vegas made the bad stuff go away. At that point the strategy became clear. Speak to that need. Make an indelible connection between Las Vegas and the freedom we all crave.”