Tag? He’s It.

Tag? He’s It.


BFC:  You’ve spent half of your 30 years in ad biz at ad agencies, as a Copywriter, Creative Director and Chief Creative Officer. The other half has been spent as a freelance copywriter. What’s your preference?

JIM: Running my own one-man operation allows me freedom, flexibility and autonomy. I find that these qualities of work life keep me fresh, challenged and on my toes. This, in turn, ensures that I’m able to bring fresh critical thinking and interesting writing to bear on my clients advertising, marketing and branding problems. Yes, I called them problems, not challenges. I’m not a big fan of euphemizing. It’s no accident that euphemism and eunuch sound so similar.

BFC:  Tagline Jim? Really? What’s that about?

JIM:  As you might expect, over 30 years, I’ve written extensively in virtually all media—TV radio, print, long format video scripts, direct mail, collateral, digital ads, email blasts, and on an on.  And I’ve written to all kinds of audiences, both “consumer” and “B2B”, in many categories from food to healthcare to financial. However, I’ve always found writing good taglines to be the most stimulating—and challenging—intellectual task, and I think it’s what I do best. So, a couple years back, I split my brand in two. The Communicaterer  remains the banner under which I do all that generalist work that still comes my way. Introducing Tagline Jim   allowed me to carve out an area of specialization—and a chance to become a fierce advocate for the tagline as the single most valuable, powerful piece of marketing language.

famous slogans advertising tag lines taglines themelines theme lines

One of Jim’s longest-running tag lines

BFC: That’s funny. I thought the tagline was dead. Some of the best minds in the business argue that taglines are just superfluous exercises in corporate ego.

JIM: I don’t know what the Latin name is for the fallacy these folks are victim to, but it has to do with condemning the entire category for the sins of most, but not all, of its members. Most taglines suck, therefore taglines suck. By this reasoning, pretty much everything sucks, since Theodore Sturgeon tells us “90 percent of everything is crud.”

This blanket condemnation of taglines by industry pundits is a big part of why I am such a zealot. Even in the golden age, when taglines were revered, most of them stunk. These days, when they are disdained, no one is teaching the art of writing powerful taglines, so the situation is dire. Thank goodness I’m here to save the day.

For an organization dedicated to vision, a visionary tag line

BFC: Just because we’re calling them taglines rather than slogans these days, aren’t they really obsolete, dinosaurs unsuited to the digital age?

 JIM: Quite the opposite. As digital media encourage and enable shorter and more compact bits of communication, a good tagline’s value and suitability to these digital forms increases exponentially. In addition, unlike any other form of marketing communication, taglines are media-infinite. They are useful and adaptable to every medium, every context, every environment. More so, even, that a brand’s logo.

BFC:  Okay, but I can go online and hire a writer to write a tagline for $100. Why would anyone want to pay you a lot more to do the same thing?

JIM:  YGWYPF. (You get what you pay for.) In addition, getting to a good tagline entails a conversation in which we examine very carefully the brand, the audience and what the brand’s “differessence” is. This conversation invariably generates insights for my clients regarding their own brands. And, the tagline exploration I perform generates lots of other useful language that the client can add to their brand lexicon. The byproducts of the tagline exploration are often just as valuable as the tagline itself.

BFC:  Any last words of wisdom?

 JIM: Just a distinction I like to make. While I’m a tagline specialist, I’m not a tagline expert. Anyone in advertising who lays claim to being an expert is a charlatan who should be avoided at all cost.



famous taglines tag lines theme lines slogans














expertise:  tag lines, theme lines, slogans, campaign concepts, copywriting, brand naming

categories:  B2B, B2C, consumer products, OTC pharmaceuticals, financial services, consumer services, snack foods, professional services, healthcare, health care


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *