Best Slogans: How Chevy Created a Meaningful Advertising Slogan

The catchy slogan is a fixture of the advertising business, but far too many advertising slogans are so witty that they never make a customer connection.  The best slogans are both moving and memorable.

In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell tells the marketing case study of Chevrolet. After years of missteps, they created a catchy slogan with heart and meaning.  They started with a powerful brand message, then encapsulated that feeling in a short and catchy slogan.

Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Best Slogans: How Chevrolet Created a Meaningful Advertising Slogan” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing researcher, emotional marketing speaker and customer loyalty researcher, and consultant at 602 Communications.


Chevy Slogan

Is your slogan just a catchy phrase, or does it have real heart and meaning that encapsulates the customer’s feelings about your brand? Chevrolet struggled with their tagline…

“Chevy runs deep”

The problem was that the marketing contradicted the slogan. The ads didn’t deliver a deep customer connection – they were just a lot of information about cars.

But they finally hit the emotional mark with this commercial that turns a car…into family.

“It was more than a car to him, it really was, his baby. He has no idea that we searched for it, and it’s gonna be the surprise of his life I think. Ok, I gotcha. Oh no. Dear god, that’s my old Chevy. We got it pop. You’re kidding me, really, come on, you’re kidding me, we found it, it took five years. Really? Dear me, it’s all good dad we found it. Wow, and it’s the same. Yep. It’s the same. It’s not just a car, it’s all the memories and the feelings, it brings all that back. From fathers to sons, Chevy runs deep.

And it isn’t just a car, it’s a brand that’s a deep emotional connection.  And finally, their slogan has meaning, because they stopped marketing cars…and started marketing a feeling…cars are family….

If you’d like to see the director’s cut of this commercial, stay tuned at the end of this video.

So remember, don’t brand your product.  Instead build your brand on how your customers feel about themselves when they use your product. I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.

Catchy slogans have long been the cornerstone of Chevrolet advertising, and all advertising in general. In fact, in another age all you had to do to have a great marketing campaign was have a catchy slogan – the best slogans were known by every household in America. Unfortunately for us in the ad business today, things aren’t quite so easy. Today’s marketing case study looks at the catchy slogans used by Chevrolet advertising, and how their brand message evolved to fit their advertising slogan.

The Danger of Catchy Slogans

Marketers will spend days and days obsessing over slogans, and the best slogans are catchy slogans that really stay with you. Think about some of the best slogans you know. Nike’s “Just Do It” is one of the best slogans of our time. Among catchy slogans, it’s among the top, and it accurately sums up Nike’s tough, no-excuses brand. When making an advertising slogan, it’s vitally important that when making a slogan, you don’t lose sight of your brand.

Chevrolet Advertising Blues

Chevrolet advertising came out with the advertising slogan “Chevy Runs Deep” a few years back, and has been running with it ever since. The only problem with that great advertising slogan: it has nothing to do with the actual advertising they were presenting. All of the best, catchy slogans in the world won’t help a brand that just throws a laundry list of product features at the viewer, and that’s just what Chevrolet advertising did. To be fair, “Chevy Runs Deep” is one of the best slogans out there today. It’s strong, it’s tough, and it doesn’t mess around – all parts of the tough Chevy brand. What Chevrolet advertising didn’t do is make actually compelling advertising to back up that great, catchy slogan.

Reconnecting With Their Roots

Chevrolet advertising realized that they had a catchy slogan but lackluster advertising, and they came out with some new ads. These new ads focused on what made Chevy special – family. A Chevrolet isn’t just a car, it’s something you entrust the safety of your children in, it’s where you make memories, and it’s a partner through thick and thin. In this marketing case study, we found the best example of Chevrolet advertising’s new approach came in this great ad. The full version documents the long and arduous struggle by two men to give their father a gift that he’ll never forget. They track down the old Chevy that he had to sell to help support the family years back, and give it to him as a surprise. It’s emotional and touching, exactly the sort of thing that Chevrolet advertising wants in an advertising slogan, and an advertising campaign.

So to recap:

  • Catchy slogans used to be all you needed for a great advertising campaign. Get the best slogans you could and you’d be set. It’s not like that anymore, and an advertising slogan needs to be reflective of the brand as well as catchy.
  • Having a great slogan that isn’t congruous to your brand is a detriment, not a supplement to your brand, and Chevrolet advertising had to find this out the hard way.
  • Chevrolet advertising found that all the catchy slogans and the best slogans around couldn’t help them if they didn’t align their brand to the catchy slogans. They did, and they reaped the benefits.

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