15 Unforgettable Commercial Catchphrases
Like a great pop tune, an effective catchphrase is designed to bore into your brain and play on repeat. Think The Terminator’s “I’ll be back” or Homer Simpson’s “D’oh”. It’s something you delight in hearing over and over again.
In advertising, when a catchphrase “catches” it has a multiplier effect. In essence, it isn’t just every time people see the commercial that it makes an impact. It’s every time people hear someone else imitate the commercial.
Budweiser’s “Wassup” commercial series probably aired thousands of times on national TV from 1999–2002. But the reach of that campaign was actually a million times greater because of the number of people [badly] repeating that catchphrase, even to this day. Such is the power of a commercial catchphrase.
Hold up, what’s the difference between a catchphrase, a slogan, and a jingle?
This is a good question, and one that’s not always as straightforward as it might seem. Oftentimes there can be overlap between catchphrases, slogans, and jingles. A catchphrase can be used as a slogan; and a slogan can be used in a jingle. Despite the overlap, there are some nuances that differentiate the three.
A jingle is a short song or tune, often accompanied by music.
A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase that will often be shown or stated at the end of a commercial.
A catchphrase is a memorable phrase spoken in dialogue by a character or series of characters.
The key with a catchphrase is that it’s spoken by a person. In many cases (as you’ll see below), a catchphrase is often associated with a specific individual or character.
15 Most Memorable Commercial Catchphrases of All Time
Here’s a list of some of the stickiest catchphrases of the past century. Test your knowledge to see if you can name the brands behind each of these classic commercial catchphrases…
*Note: When the name of the brand was included in the catchphrase, we excluded it to make this just slightly more challenging.