The Psychology Behind 5 Famous Company Slogans

Marketers use psychology daily, whether they know it or not. We’re constantly searching for ways to convince and attract people to the companies and brands we represent, in order to up engagement, brand awareness, and ultimately sales.

Slogans are the perfect example. They’re meant to capture the consumer’s attention and leave them with a feeling of wanting more. These 5 companies took their slogans to another level – using basic human psychology to help drive home their messages. Take a look and see for yourself – we’re sure you’ve heard of some of these catch-phrases before.

1. Jif Peanut Butter

Slogan: Choosy moms choose Jif

Psychological Tactic: Repositioning – changing the position a business occupies in consumers’ minds.

There was a time when Jif wasn’t the leading peanut butter in the United States. The company had a challenge standing out on the grocery store shelves of America, and to help them stand out they used a tactic known as repositioning. Al Ries and Jack Trout are the authors of “Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind.” The book speaks to the limited slots consumers have in their brains for products, and the need for brands to position themselves in one of those slots. Jif capitalized on this repositioning with their slogan, which presents a question to all mothers when buying peanut butter: are you a choosy mom? Hard to answer that in the negative.

2. British Airways

Slogan: The world’s favorite airline

Psychological Tactic: Social Proof – where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

Social proof is the ultimate tactic for easing the minds of worried customers. If you want to show someone that you have a good product or service – speak to the way others feel about your product or service. In a study published by the Washington Post, researchers actually found that positive social proof was even more influential than saving money! Not a bad finding for one of the world’s more expensive airlines.

3. FedEx

Slogan: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight

Psychological Tactic: Clustering – People have a limited amount of space in their short-term memory. To cope, most people tend to cluster similar pieces of information together.

Humans have limited space for memory, and often getting your company message across in one sentence can be a tricky task. At FedEx, they managed to achieve this in nine words. Nine. FedEx used clustering to get their important information to their customers in one sentence. Had they tried to include their low-costs, great customer service, or multiple locations, the message would likely have been lost. This slogan told consumers the single, most important thing about FedEx – they could be relied on to get the job done in the shortest of time frames.

Their new slogan, “Relax, it’s FedEx” conveys the same message of reliability. Here’s one of the best old commercials featuring the former slogan.

4. Hallmark

Slogan: When you care enough to send the very best

Psychological Tactic: Cognitive Dissonance – discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs. An individual who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance.

This is possibly the most interesting slogan to dissect on this list, but we’re going to stick to the major psychological tactic used. Cognitive dissonance is induced in this slogan to create guilt in the buyer, should they seek out a less expensive product. It’s an aggressive tactic, but it encourages shoppers to select Hallmark for special occasions, since the slogan entails the the price of the card is at a premium. Do you care enough to send the very best?

Just watch this ad from the 80s. How could you not send the very best to Grandma?!

5. Geico

Slogan: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance

Psychological Tactic: Reciprocity – humans are inclined to repay kindness that’s been given to them.

Have you ever wondered why your waiter or waitress gives you a mint or two after your meal? It may not be for the reason that you think. Reciprocity is a social psychology rule that states that humans are inclined to repay kindness that’s been given to them. In a study, researchers found that when servers left a mint for patrons after their meal, tips increased 3%, 14%, and 21% against a control group, depending on how many and in what fashion they brought them out. Basically, if you want to receive something from someone – give them something. This is exactly what Geico is offering up in their slogan.


What’s your favorite slogan that we didn’t mention on this list? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below – Just do it.

Share this story below!

Want more marketing tips? Subscribe to our newsletter.