• May 22, 2006

Whether encountered via television, print, radio, Internet or billboards, it's hard to escape automotive advertising. Because they're so omnipresent, most people tend to 'tune out,' so automakers have turned to slogans to and catchphrases to stay in consumer's minds, with the inevitable varying degrees of success.

All of which makes the frequency with which they alter their slogans a bit hard to figure. In fact, things have gotten so schizophrenic that Paul Ballew, executive director of global market and industry analysis for General Motors recently told Advertising Age that "We're like ADD ferrets on amphetamines." Lovely picture, that.

Regardless, Ballew has a point. By AA's tally, Buick has had five taglines since 2000, and Saturn and Pontiac have had four a piece. By comparison, brands with decidedly clearer identities would appear to be keeping their slogans longer: BMW's 'The Ultimate Driving Machine' mantra has carried the company through the 1980s and four agencies. Mazda has 'Zoom Zoom'd for going on five years now. Hummer has had one slogan since its birth in 2001, "Like No Other," and GM's resurgent Cadillac has held fast to the Led Zeppelin-influenced "Break Through" since early 2002. Of course, GMC's "Professional Grade" campaign has been around since late 2000, and assessing that nameplate's success is problematic. Still, the correlation bears further study.

So... how do you feel about automotive taglines and slogans... do any ring particularly true or false for you as a consumer? Do you heed them at all? Mint your own catchphrase in 'Comments.'

[Sources: Advertising Age; ewancient.lysator.liu.se]



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  • 25 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I thought Chevrolet had a pretty nice slogan which really added up with "Heartbeat of America". But they had too many others just the opposite of my personal experience such as "Built like a Rock". Lately I tend to view slogans with meanings just the opposite of what they're intended to convey. Slogans are overused and misused by the industry: They mean nothing in this day and age.
      • 8 Years Ago
      All I want to see is R&D budget. I sat down in a new Mitsubishi eclipse and it was obvious that they pushed the car out just to fill a market niche. When General Motors releases a 260hp, 260tq 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection, I get excited, even though it's GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Taglines ,are about two things..who are we..and what are we saying to our market..I am not surprised that BMW has had such a great run..it knows who it is..and it knows how to have a relationship with it's target market..Most auto companies and, consumer brands don't understand what they are trying to sell and to whom they are trying to sell their products to..The companies with a clear identity get it..and stick to it..and get the fruit that comes with a long term plan...ie Starbucks Home Depot..and BMW..
      • 8 Years Ago
      DIDN'T WE DO THIS ALREADY?
      • 8 Years Ago
      For American Cars, how about, "At Your Service...You're Gonna Need It!"?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Slogans - we don't need no steenkin' slogans.

      I don't care about the talk - it the walk that counts.
      Advertisers could all go jump in a lake and I wouldn't miss 'em.

      Ahh, but Lotus putting an Elise at my disposal on the autocross track at Road Atlanta during the Mitty? That's walking the walk. Don't spend anything on ads - just set up test drive centers without salesmen.

      Mazda does the same with it's zoom-zoom tour - don't miss it! But Mazda won't let you thrash their cars as hard - you get black marks for being a bad boy, two marks and you're out. No, I didn't collect any.

      If I only had the 40k disposable, Lotus would have a sale without a single dollar spent on advertising. Except that what I did came out of the advertising budget, fer sure.

      I have already purchased 4 miatae, but hey, if they are going to let me drive theirs...
      • 8 Years Ago
      ridiculous: "born from jets"
      • 8 Years Ago
      VW took MINI's ad company and all of a sudden, you get the Uber funny "Unpimp ze auto" ads and the VW Fast (demon rabbit thing)... bottom line, my FAST doesn't get along with other marques' slogans.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have ADD, and you know how they treat it? Stimulants. So an ADD ferret on amphetamines would be a self treating ferret. Does the general public realize that Ritalin = methylphenidate? My doctor said it is a cousin of amphetamines... Just an FYI, the quotation sounds rediculous to those that know ADD and the pharmaceutical treatment options.
      • 8 Years Ago
      For Mitsubishi:

      From the folks that brought you the Zero
      • 8 Years Ago
      Changing your slogan frequently is just bad brand
      management. The problem, as people have already pointed
      out, is not the message - it's the products.

      Make attractive, reliable, useful products, and people
      will buy them. In fact, if you do that successfully
      enough you can practically gut your advertising budget,
      because your customers will sell cars *for* you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The only Cadillac slogan that I could remember was "The standard of the world" - and they canned that one before I was born. I sometimes hope they'll bring it back if they can build enough cars that back it up. The only other slogans I can recall off the top of my head are BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine" and Mazda's "Zoom-zoom." Well, and a few for individual cars - the Caliber's "It's anything but cute," "Say Hi to Neon," and "The Fit is Go!"

      Here are my nominees for gag slogans:

      Suzuki - If you're sick of riding your Hayabusa in the rain, we'd like to remind you that make cars, too!

      Toyota - because 'personality' is a code word for 'unreliable.'

      Isuzu - I'm not dead yet! (Said in a Cockney accent)

      Saturn - If you don't like Detroit iron, try Tennessee plastic.
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