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Completing your film or video project is always an achievement, but the work doesn't stop there. Here's how to write a slogan that will attract viewers.

A tagline is a short phrase that marketers use to sell a product experience to a customer. They're usually gritty or smart, and often use puns or other phrases that can grab your attention and get you to ask questions like, "What is this?" . . ? "

The best known are Nike's short and sweet "Just do it" or Apple's "Think different". They condense the entire customer experience with these two brands into a total of five words. It's marketing witchcraft and it works.

What does a slogan do?

What does a slogan have to do with your film or video? Much. First, let's find out what a tagline isn't.

In this post, we've distinguished the log line from the tagline – the two are often confused, but they do very different tasks. The main log line works in isolation, usually following a formula to quickly summarize your script for potential manufacturers. It's the elevator distance that tells exactly what your movie is about and why it will be interesting – if done right.

The tagline for Superman (1978) was "You will believe that a man can fly." It's direct, intriguing, and a great example of how to capture the film's experience. (Image via Warner Bros.)

The slogan, on the other hand, is an element of a general marketing strategy to attract viewers to your film. Loglines sell your film to producers. Slogans sell it to the audience. They often capture one-liners from trailers in order to keep the film in the viewer's field of vision together. You also see them on billboards and can appear in program guides for film festivals. Since the marketing of a film is largely a digital affair, the slogan has taken on new roles and appears as a social media post, as a copy of an ad, or as a headline on an advertising website.

In contrast to the log line, the tagline does not follow a formula. A slogan is more like marketing know-how and there are no rules – even if there are a few good ideas. First of all, it should be short. We're going to look at some longer ones in our case study below that can work, but usually don't. Second, the experience of your film needs to be communicated, not what your film means or what it is trying to do. Third, it has to be smart – sometimes that means being very direct, and we'll look back at some examples of this approach. But it shouldn't be boring, it shouldn't be too descriptive, and it shouldn't try to do too much. After all, you will need more than one of these.

Superman poster

The slogan for Superman in action on an advertising poster. (Image via Warner Bros.)

Do you really need a tagline?

Behavioral digital marketing is creeping into every corner of our online experience, and your movie should be no exception. It's not enough to just create a tagline, paste it onto all of your social media profiles and then keep reposting it. You need several, each working towards a different goal, such as: B. Create interest, offer more information and then sell tickets (or copies or downloads). Any slogan that tries to run all three at once is unlikely to hit any of its markings, least of all of them.

If, as Filmmaker Magazine claims (noted above), four-quadrant film marketing is dead, it means we are looking at the target demographics with heaps of overlapping features. So, know your audience, know how to talk to them, and then take your time on a tiered approach to get their interest and focus your gaze on your movie.

There is no magic answer to how to write a slogan that achieves anything you want, but you can position yourself for success by following a few tips. First, write a lot of them. Bad ideas can lead to good ones. So don't be afraid to record all the stupid things that come on your mind until you nail them down. Second, you bring other brains into the process. You may only have your director or cameraman view of the movie. Bring other members of the crew – bring underdogs you trust. Develop a hive mind and don't be valuable to your ideas. You never know who will find the winner.

Let's take a look at a few slogans – good and bad – to get your wheels spinning

Case Study: 15 Slogans – Good and Bad

Many films use more than one tagline in their marketing campaigns, including several in the list below. However, let's look at some specific taglines to find out why they work and why they don't.

1. Fight Club

Nonsense. Chaos. Soap.

Like loglines, taglines can work well when you group improbable elements together in a common phrase or phrase. Things that stand out get our attention – this is the principle behind the "hook," a storytelling device that gets your attention enough by just being interesting – interesting enough that you stay for the rest of the message – or for the rest of the book or the rest of the movie.

Unlikely groupings of different things, especially if you can surprise your audience, create hooks because we tend to prefer things that make sense – we like explanations even when we have to find them ourselves. The 1999 Fight Club was a disruptive success. A lot of viewers had never seen anything like this before and a lot weren't even sure what they would see if they went to the theater (I thought it was just a movie about boxing). But as the tagline shows, the marketing behind this film did its job, and viewers wanted explanations as to why they were intrigued.

"Mischief" and "chaos" are interesting enough, but what on earth do they have to do with "soap"? This slogan isn't even a complete sentence and is one of my favorite examples of a properly done slogan. Three words. Three statements. Three things that don't belong together.

Fight Club

The tagline for Fight Club is both a narrative and visual catch – a bar of soap from the tagline with the title. (Image via 20th Century Fox.)

The movie is still resonating 21 years later, and if you haven't seen it, you'll still be wondering what a bar of soap titled has to do with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

2. The fly

The fly

The Fly (Image via 20th Century Fox).

Be scared. I am very scared.

David Cronenberg's 1986 body horror remake was a blast and put the controversial director in the spotlight. It's a graphic, disturbing film that many saw at the time as a powerful metaphor for the AIDS crisis. The slogan is so direct and imperative that it has entered common language as an expression of itself. (Google the phrase, and one of the first results you get is people wondering where the line came from.) There is nothing particularly interesting or hookish in this tagline. Rather, it groups mistakes, fear, and Jeff Goldblum – and doesn't leave much room for negotiation.

If you give your audience an instruction, especially one like "be afraid," that unlocks the part of the psyche that likes body horror and haunted houses on Halloween, this is a great way to generate interest. It's similar to "Don't press this button." We tend to defy policy and do what we shouldn't – like not being afraid to see The Fly.

3rd jaw: The vengeance

Kiefer: The revenge

Jaws: The Revenge famously coined "This time it's personal" in the slogan for this disappointing episode of the franchise. (Image via Universal Pictures.)

This time it's personal.

This famous franchise flop is our first example of what we shouldn't be doing. The film was widespread, especially for the extraordinarily fake looking shark. Marty McFly is known to hit the terrifying shark when he comments on the holo trailer for Jaws 19 at the Holomax Theater in Back to the Future Part II: "Shark still looks wrong."

The problem isn't with the tagline itself, which is another example of a marketing phrase that has become entrenched in common parlance. You have heard the line in numerous parodies and lampoons. As we noted earlier, the problem is that slogans don't work in isolation. This slogan could apply to any number of revenge films and work well. Combined with a title like Jaws: The Revenge and commercial art, however, we're not sure who's getting personal here: the shark or some unnamed and unadverted human characters in the film who presumably have beef with this shark. Once again.

The slogan has to work with the poster has to work with the title has to work with the film. Make a good movie first – that should be step one. Then work backwards to develop branding, imaging, and marketing that clearly tell your audience what matters – and why not to miss it.

4. The Blair Witch Project

Blair Witch Project

Branding their horror film as real footage paid off for the filmmakers of 1999 The Blair Witch Project. (Image via Artisan Entertainment.)

In October 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while they were making a documentary … Their footage was found a year later.

Another disruptive hit from 1999, The Blair Witch Project managed to push its marketing beyond the slogans (yes, plural, another hit was "Everything You Heard Is True"). For one hot minute, many people thought the story was true. After all, the slogan intones a "documentary" and it says "your footage was found". That makes it real, doesn't it? In addition, the promotional material around the midnight premiere at the Sundance Film Festival listed the actors as "missing" or "deceased".

Audiences were drawn in droves to this real-life supernatural horror film that ushered in a revival of found footage filmmaking. The budget for this independent film was small compared to industry standards, so the filmmakers had to get creative with how they would grab attention. So they lied. Everything is fair about love and filmmaking. So if your movie is based on the "real" get creative with the clues you can include in your tagline to entice people into the allure of "based on a true story."

5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The community of the ring

Peter Jackson started his landmark trilogy with The Fellowship of the Ring, and the movie's slogans reflect the power he used to bring Tolkien's masterpiece to the big screen. (Image via New Line Cinema.)

One ring to rule them all.

Peter Jackson's epic trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" began in 2001 with "The Fellowship of the Ring" and conquered the cinema world with its breathtaking views, outstanding cast and breathtaking visual effects. The scope and ambition of this trilogy do not have many parallels. The marketing team was faced with a monumental task: how to live up to Tolkien's legacy and the juggernaut of a movie they wanted to bring to the world?

As well-versed film marketers, they used several catchphrases, including "The legend comes alive", "Middle-earth comes alive" and "Power can be kept in the smallest of things" – among others. Applied to the standard teasers, trailers and BTS tricks, these slogans queried all of the marketing messages of the trailers, posters and other slogans.

The most important slogan here that is particularly effective and appropriate is that the marketing team did nothing. The line comes from Tolkien's famous poem, which is inscribed on the One Ring. It intones the full threat of this greatest adversary and denotes the high price that the forces of good must pay in order to defeat it – and its malevolent maker. The marketing team just took that promising line out of the text and made it a short and sweet slogan that brought out the full power of Tolkien's famous epic.

The lesson here is simple: don't reinvent the wheel. If your film project is somehow focused on a subject, character, or subject with a lot of pre-existing recognition, lean on that.

6. I was a teenage werewolf

I was a teenage werewolf

Michael Landon and Dawn Richard in I Was a Teenage Werewolf. (Image via American International Pictures.)

The most amazing film of our time!

In 1957, I was a teenage werewolf, a financial hit, and it helped kick-start Michael Landon's career, despite mixed reviews of the feature itself. It was one of American International's most successful releases. All of this despite his slogan.

To be fair, the marketing here is mostly aimed at teenagers going to a theater in the late 50s, so exaggeration and bold claims were the name of the game – drive-ins were notoriously full of them. . . Distractions. While it worked in these circumstances, it's another example of what not to do, and you'll see it appear on several "Worst Taglines" lists.

The problem is simple. The claim is so bold that there is no need to answer it. There are no insights as to the genre, there are no plot details to reference this slogan, and for all its grandeur and circumstances, there is nothing memorable about this line.

Make no claims – describe experiences. Say something interesting. Use your slogans to make people stop scrolling and wonder what you're talking about.

7. The matrix

The matrix

Keanu Reeves in the Matrix. (Image via Warner Bros.)

What is the matrix

As if that list of Fight Club and The Blair Witch Project wasn't enough in 1999, The Matrix is ​​another disruptive game changer with a marketing perspective that we need to look at. From making beautiful use of ball time to bending spoons to lifting the veil over our seemingly flawed reality, The Matrix has created an impact crater, and the ideas and sayings from this movie are rife.

The Matrix had multiple slogans, including other gems like "The Matrix Has You" and "Welcome to the Real World," but the simple question, "What is the Matrix?" is the standout here. This film was very enigmatic and what to expect from it and that seems to have been intentional. Rather than trying to target us with allusions to kung fu, western, and phenomenology, the marketing team behind The Matrix decided to keep you in the dark – and you wanted to be a part of it.

In theoretical circles we call this the Hermeneutic Code, but all it really means is that the marketers introduced a conundrum that you may not be able to solve – not without the rest of the movie. This is one of the most important techniques for building and maintaining momentum in a storyline. In this case, a very short act – actually a slogan.

Don't be afraid to put a secret in your tagline. Give your viewer a reason to want more information.

8. Star Trek

Star Trek

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto in Star Trek 2009. (Image via Paramount Pictures.)

The future begins.

Star Trek 2009 was facing an uphill battle. Sure, the news about the casting got around quickly and J.J. Abrams already had a reputation strong enough to draw viewers in, but the upside is also the problem. It's STAR TREK. New Star Trek. It's hard enough navigating the minefields of the Trek fandom on a normal day. Are you restarting the original series and creating the Kelvin timeline? That just asks the critical fan base to raise their shields.

So the marketing team decided to rely on the franchise's cache and not choreograph some slogan gymnastics to prove to viewers that this Star Trek was worth as much attention as any other Star Trek, they were in control to take over the narrative with the simple slogan "The future begins." It is a new creation, an origin story. It's a departure from the "main timeline," but it shares common elements about how the intrepid crew got together – this time with better visual effects.

Don't swim upstream when faced with branding challenges related to the general perception of your subject. Find a subtle way to go with the flow and let that shared awareness do some of the heavy lifting for you.

9. Avengers Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

There was considerable marketing momentum behind the Avengers franchise before Endgame took advantage of the allure of an epic deal. (Image via Walt Disney Studios.)

Nothing can prepare you for the end.

Avengers: Endgame was one of the top grossing films of all time in the Branded Franchises category. It was the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it's an understatement to say that the marketing team gave some impetus to the film. As the keystone to so many storylines over such a long period of time, this particular film has been positioned as a hit.

But that doesn't mean you aren't marketing a hit. As the end of the franchise and the end of that particular storyline, there is a bit of duality to the "end" in this tagline. The claim here is almost as bold as the tagline for I was a teenage werewolf, but it comes across as more of a challenge – a challenge.

While you may not be writing slogans for franchises as big as The Avengers, you can still get these off their playbook. Talk to your audience directly and ask them to call your bluff.

10. Black panther

Black Panther

The slogan for Black Panther used the marketability of the Avengers franchise as a springboard for an even more exciting episode. (Image via Walt Disney Studios.)

The Avengers have a new king.

Black Panther (and its marketing efforts), the most successful superhero film of all time, is worth a moment of our time. Hollywood had been talking about Black Panther since the early 90s, but it took a minute for it to actually come together. At one point, his box office performance was stratospheric. And for good measure – an epic storyline of the rise to power, beautiful imagery, outstanding casting and action and high stakes adventure make this a case study in itself of how to make a great movie that everyone loves.

As we saw above in Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther had an ace up its sleeve – it had the power and momentum of the Avengers timeline behind its pre-release buzz and marketing efforts. Even so, a number of slogans secured the marketing bets to ensure the film takes full advantage of that cache. Probably the most elegant slogan on the lineup – and the one that takes full advantage of Avengers Bump – is the one we're looking at here. "The Avengers Have a New King" takes over the franchise's marketing power and chooses it with a king. What's better than the Avengers? An Avengers King, that's something.

Once you've dialed yourself into a group of slogans that are appropriate for your various marketing and social campaigns, keep thinking about how to get the most out of them to really show your audience what matters .

11: Suspiria


Dario Argento's Giallo horror classic Suspiria was an international success despite its catchphrases. (Image via International Classics.)

The only thing more terrible than the last 12 minutes of this film is the first 92.

Suspiria is about as Argento as his films – it's definitely one of his most memorable films, with a signature style and over-the-top approach that manages to get somewhere between "Are you serious?" and "man this is great." Financially, the film was an international success and spurred two more films in the trilogy The Three Mothers.

But one (actually two) of his slogans was inappropriate. The various international marketing efforts were based on a collection of slogans, some capitalizing on Argento's popularity – others got creative with intonations of witchcraft and vague threats against the dark.

However, this slogan only comes in its own way. The only salient points it offers are numbers – parts of the total run time that honestly do nothing to grab the viewer's attention. Who cares how long it takes? And what about the last 12 minutes? What's up with them? All we get here is that this scary movie has a scary ending. Dullsville.

If that weren't enough, the US slogan would be “The only thing more terrible than the last 12 minutes of this movie. Are the first 80. "because the original American prints were cropped to give the film an R rating.

The lesson here is that you can't just say your movie (insert genre here) is very (same genre). It is uninteresting, not a challenge and does not attract the viewer.

12. Close encounters of the third kind

Close encounter of the third kind

Close encounters of the third type are a great example of a tagline that repeats itself for a marketing approach that adapts over time. (Image via Columbia Pictures.)

Close encounter of the first kind – sighting of a UFO. Close encounter of the second kind – physical evidence. Close encounter of the third kind – contact. WE ARE NOT ALONE.

Steven Spielberg's passion project Close Encounters of the Third Kind was such a critical and financial success that the Library of Congress selected it as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" for inclusion in the National Film Registry. The film made its limited-edition debut before expanding into broad circulation and returning to the theater years later in an expanded (and controversial) "special edition". (A third version, the Director & # 39; s Cut, corrected the injustice that Spielberg ignored in the special edition.)

So we can safely say that this movie is significant.

The different iterations of the movie itself reflect what is important about the taglines – the iteration. As mentioned earlier, it is important to monitor your tagline campaign (in fact your entire marketing campaign) in a digital world where you address different demographics at different stages of the conversion funnel. (Bring this up at your next dinner party!) You're not marketing to someone who is about to pay for a download like you are marketing to someone who is just hearing about your movie.

Close encounter of the third kind

The slogan for encounters of the third kind at work. Later iterations simply reduced the slogan to "We're not alone". (Image via Columbia Pictures.)

In this case, the first slogan (quoted above) is the longest. It begins with J. Allen Hynek's classifications of "close encounters" – arguably a sluggish way of attracting attention. The rankings are critical to the film's experience and title, so they took some legwork to earn their part in the marketing campaign. The slogan is based almost entirely on the hook of meeting an alien, which was clearly enough to make it a success.

However, a later iteration, familiarizing potential viewers with the tagline and classification system required to experience the movie, sent the same loaded message with the now shorter tagline "We're not alone." The early footwork paid off as a shorter slogan further down the funnel.

This step-by-step process is a good demonstration of how you can build interest in your movie over time. Put a solid hook (like aliens) on it, and your film could end up in the National Film Registry too.

13. Minions


The nice thing about the slogan for Minions is its simplicity. (Image via Universal Pictures.)

Oh oh.

Fresh from our look at the rather lengthy "Close Encounters" slogan, we can't see that tiny slogan for the Prepel "Despicable Me" that made over a billion dollars. Like some of the other films on this list, Minions started the marketing game with the dynamism of an already established franchise. Capturing your heart and mind with this should be easy. We already know these little boys are funny and cause hijinx. There is no better summary of this movie experience than "Uh oh". Anything longer would have wasted words.

If brevity is the soul of the joke and your tagline is going to be funny then you get it. Say as much as you can with as few words as possible.

14: Poltergeist


Another short but cute slogan, the marketing copy for Poltergeist, is based on a double punch from the trailer and the slogan. (Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.)

You are here.

Originally a dark horror sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Poltergeist became one of the greatest commercial and critical hits of 1982. With a deeply rooted cult following, Poltergeist remains one of the most famous horror franchises. The tagline strategy is a great example of how the elements of movie marketing can be self-referential and work together to build an audience instead of working in isolation to attract viewers.

The primary slogan "You are here" obviously has the strengths of brevity and intrigue. Who are you? Do I not have to know more in this situation? But its strength does not lie in its length; Rather, it's a line straight from the film – probably one of the most famous lines in horror history – that played a prominent role in the trailer. By voicing it on movie posters and other promotional items, the slogan immediately reminded of the creepy trailer and did the trailer's job where the trailer couldn't. Another line from the movie "Mom, Dad, where are you?" has also taken on the dual role of a tagline, indicating that the marketing team is well aware of the power of their source material.

If your movie has something as resonant as "You are here" that both identifies the genre and describes the movie experience, don't be afraid to add direct quotes to your bank of taglines – as long as they're short and to the point.

15: The Goonies

The goonies

A little too long, the slogan for Spielberg's beloved family adventure from 1985, The Goonies, ties in with the idea of ​​the hook and really does it with as many as it gets. (Image via Warner Bros.)

The Pirate's Map, The Malevolent Crooks, The Underground Caves, The Booby Traps, The Skeletons, The Monster, The Lost Treasure, And The Magic That Is. . . THE GOONIES.

As if Steven Spielberg wasn't on this list enough, we have to check out another one: The Goonies. The Goonies, another entry on the national film register for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," has also become a cult film, especially among the children who marked the end of Gen X. The film offers something for everyone. Even if the target audience was young – this is remarkable as it expands the cinema audience to include entire families. Some of the humor hasn't aged well, but this is still a movie that kids and adults can watch together.

For this purpose the marketing had to be similarly versatile. Being too direct, too smart, or too challenging could have torpedoed marketing efforts. Instead, the slogan for The Goonies takes the concept of the hook and runs with it. The tagline is really just a series of hooks, each of which is more aggressive than the previous one. It's pure marketing – it keeps catching your attention, leaving a vague but enticing impression of the cinematic experience: adventure. If a more nuanced slogan strategy can get in the way of a movie project that really only does one thing and does it well, then don't be afraid to sell the experience directly to your viewer.

So there you have it: 15 different approaches to the tagline to demonstrate what you should and shouldn't do with your own taglines. There are any number of creative approaches to creating an effective slogan. Das Endergebnis sollte je nach Verwendungszweck variieren: Festivalprogrammierung, Veröffentlichung in sozialen Medien, Werbung. Denken Sie daran, mehrere zu schreiben und sie mit anderen zu schreiben. Zusammenarbeit ist eine der besten Möglichkeiten, um aus dem Kopf zu kommen und über Ihren Film aus der Perspektive eines anderen nachzudenken.

Titelbild über Warner Bros.


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