… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1027: Writing Tag Lines that Work

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Tag lines sell your films to audiences.

Minions tag line: “Uh oh.” (Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

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This article, written by Darrin Bradley, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

A tagline is a short phrase marketers use to sell a product experience to a customer. They’re usually pithy or clever, often employing puns or other turns of phrase that can grab your attention and get you to start asking questions, like “What’s this . . . ?”

Some of the most famous include Nike’s short-and-sweet “Just do it” or Apple’s “Think different.” They condense the entire consumer experience with these two brands into a grand total of five words. It’s marketing witchcraft, and it works.

In this post, we differentiated the logline from the tagline — the two often get confused, but they’re doing very different jobs. The load-bearing logline works in isolation, usually according to a formula, to quickly summarize your script for potential producers. It’s the elevator pitch that identifies exactly what your movie is about and why it will be interesting — if done correctly.

The tagline, on the other hand, is one element of an overall marketing strategy to attract viewers for your movie. Loglines sell your film to producers; taglines sell it to audiences. They often capture one-liners from trailers in a joint effort to keep your movie front-and-center in a viewer’s mind. You’ll also see them on promotional posters, and they can appear in programming guides for film festivals. Now that marketing a movie is largely a digital affair, the tagline has taken on new roles, appearing as a social media post, as ad copy, or as a headline on a promotional website.

There’s no magic answer for how to write a tagline that accomplishes everything you want it to, but you can position yourself for success by following a couple of tips. First, write a lot of them. Bad ideas can yield good ones, so don’t be afraid to record every stupid thing that comes to mind until you nail it. Second, bring other brains into the process. You may have only your director’s or cinematographer’s view of the movie. Bring in other members from the crew — bring in outsiders you trust. Develop a hive-mind, and don’t be precious about your ideas. You never know who’s going to come up with the winner.

The article continues with examples and analysis from ten different popular films.


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