Taglines: Homework- -enough to make you crazy!

Week two of Writing for Wineries class and I am swamped with homework! Well, maybe not swamped, but I’ve hit an impasse on a discussion question that asks us to identify “taglines” and “elevator pitches” in this year’s Top Ten Super Bowl commercials.


Is that the football thing all the dads make a big deal about?


I believe it is, 9. According to what I can find online the first Super Bowl game was January 15, 1967, between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Green Bay took home the trophy. Believe it or not, the Super Bowl is still around 57 years later.


The same two teams?


Practically. This year the Kansas City Chiefs were up again and they beat the San Francisco 49ers.


I really don’t care for football.


Me either, Lily, but a lot of people celebrate the Super Bowl like it’s a national holiday- -loads of fatty and sugary foods, tons of alcohol, the wearing of team colors and lots of screaming and shouting in front of big-screen TVs. The commercials run during breaks have become an event unto themselves.


This brings me back to the homework assignment that has temporarily defeated me. We’re supposed to watch the Top Ten Super Bowl commercials and, for three of them, identify taglines and elevator pitches.


Sorry, you’ve lost me.


A tagline is like a slogan. According to our instructor it’s a short phrase that captures a company or individual’s essence, personality and positioning. Let’s try some out. 9, you go first.


Gheez. Okay, uhm. . .I’m short and sweet and never short on sweets?


Hey, that’s catchy! Okay, Lily, your turn.


Theater. It’s what I do.


Very compact! Moving right along- –


Wait! You almost skipped your turn!


Darn it. I mean, thanks, 9. Susan Matley: reader, writer, ‘rithmaticker.


Honestly? It needs work.


Returning to the vexing homework, the taglines part was easy. In fact, the spoken text of the commercials was pretty much all taglines or one-liners. And lots of action. But as for elevator pitches- –


I don’t get what you mean by that.


An elevator pitch is a short, succinct couple of sentences that allow you to tell someone critical information about who you are and what you do that quickly catches their attention. The term elevator pitch is related to brevity: it should take no more time to say it than it does to ride an elevator.


How many floors?


Good question, Lily, and it did come up in the lecture. Five floors is a guideline. Thirty seconds and/or seventy-five words, max.


That doesn’t sound like it would be hard to identify in a commercial.


I didn’t think it would be either, but, as it turns out, all of these Top Ten commercials rely so heavily on taglines, one liners and sight gags that there’s virtually no information about what the company being advertised is or does in verbal form.


I feel like I have a perception disability, not being able to find these. I’m waiting to hear back from the instructor as to what I might be missing. My best guess is we’re supposed to infer what the elevator pitch would be, based on the overall commercial.


For example, the Oreo commercial. The tagline is “Twist On It.”


That sounds rude!


Out of context, it sure does! The ad shows different turning points in human history where decisions are made (example: how to the guards of the gates of Troy decide whether or not to let the huge wooden horse be rolled into the city). Inexplicably, the guards are eating Oreos, which didn’t exist until 1912. They make their decision based on which half of the cookie the filling stays on when they twist it open.


How silly.


All ten of the commercials were definitely long on silly. But back to the homework problem. If I were writing an elevator pitch based on the content of this particular commercial what could I say besides, “We make an amazing cookie that has helped humans make critical decisions throughout history”? I mean, it would be cool if Oreos had that kind of power, but. . .No. Just. No.


But I have to admit, Twist On It, in addition to being a tagline, is quite a brain worm.




And now I’m kind of wishing I’d bought Oreos at the grocery story today instead of Honey Maid Graham Crackers. In a battle between “Twist on it” and “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will” who will prevail?


Taglines: “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will.”

Pin It on Pinterest