Where’s the Beef? It’s not Just in the Tag Line. It’s in the Campaign

Some of the greatest marketing slogans of the last 70 years have stuck with us, despite the fact that they haven’t been seen or heard in many decades. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the following:

Clara Peller, asking in a Wendy’s commercial from 1984, “Where’s the Beef?” And no, this is not an ad for a vegetarian beef substitute—quite the opposite.

John Houseman in 1979 lecturing on the financial bona fides of Smith Barney, a company that makes money the old-fashioned way, “they earn it.”

Or an ad from the mid-80s states, “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.” And that includes the marching band.

These memorable messages and many others like it, most often from companies whose names were lost long ago to mergers and acquisitions, stick with us for a couple of reasons. It’s not simply that the tag lines are great (which invariably they are) or benefited from extremely good casting, but that their advertisers saturated television, radio, and other media with the message. So much so that it becomes a generational landmark. If you mention Clara Peller’s series of commercials for Wendy’s, anyone born up to the early 1970s know exactly what you are talking about and will respond “Where’s the Beef?”

Small businesses are not in the position of a national burger chain or resource-rich investment houses. They never could afford Madison Avenue advertising agencies and vast national media exposure.

What are the tools small businesses can use to achieve their own niche success? First, you don’t need to conduct dozens of national focus groups to come up with an imaginative tag line. It just needs to be simple and memorable. Can it stick in the eyes and ears of your target audience?

Second, small businesses know their niche markets. They can do a great job of saturating their target area with a message that resonates with their specific audience. That does takes a level of commitment though: Consider a campaign that uses a combination of billboard, direct mail, local social media, and targeted opportunities. No one can expect a single media exposure to achieve what requires several months (or even years) for success. That tag line can only become sticky if people see and hear it many times.

Finally, the message must include a reason to contact your business. The call to action needs to be unequivocal—contact us to do what? In this case, contact Revisions Communications & Editorial Services to create that tagline and help you decide on the best vehicles for your campaign. We can help make your message generational, at least in your niche market.

Revisions Communications & Editorial Services

Services to Boost Your Business.

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