Here’s a quick moonwalk across some of the technology industry’s slogans. Pithy, witty, full of potshots—you get every variety here.
“It isn’t the whiskey they choose, it’s the image.” These wise words from the archetype of advertising David Ogilvy ring particularly true when we look back at some slogans of tech brands that have defined, disrupted and entertained the industry.
Some make you smile. Some make you think. Some stay in your mind. Some become etched in the chronicles of history. Taglines have a way of making it through someone’s heart or mind, or both. And the task gets tougher when it’s a technology brand doing the talking. That’s why this specially curated list of tech slogans is a different memory lane to walk into. Take a pause at every line. It could have been a carefully aimed gunshot at a rival. It could have been a thinly veiled swagger. It could have been a flash of excitement. But whatever it was, it’s a line that’s now a wax statue in itself. Or shall we say, a well-brewed bottle of whiskey. Enjoy!
Slogans that were
01. Apple: Think Different.
02. Google: Don’t be evil.
03. Atari: You can’t do that on television.
04. Yelp: Pretend your review matters. (Also. Real People. Real Reviews.)
05. Mozilla: Your Web. The way you like it.
06. eBay: Buy it. Sell it. Love it.
07. IBM: Just the job for Britain (1985), Second to none (1992) and Outthink probability (2016).
08. Dell: Easy as Dell (2001).
09. HP: When it’s this easy, why not? (2002) and The technology you need when you need it (2006).
10. Sony PlayStation: Different place, different rules (2002), It’s real dangerous and you’re going to love it (2002), Everyone has a primal side (2003), Fun anyone? (2003), It only does everything (2009) and Long live play (2011).
11. Apple iPad: Like a computer. Unlike any computer (2018).
12. Macbook Air: Lightness strikes again (2018).
13. Cisco: The network works. No excuses (1995).
14. Adobe: Everywhere you look (2001).
15. Radica (UK): It’s a footie thing (2003), Privacy you control (2003), and The ultimate game of truth or dare (2003).
16. Honeywell: The other computer company (1974).
17. Avaya: Now you’re talking (2001).
18. Sony US: Make. Believe. (2010). Sony UK: This is not a rehearsal (2000).
19. Razer: For gamers. By gamers (2009).
20. Splunk: See the light before you tunnel (2015).
21. Victor UK: The computer you call by name (1983).
22. Infosys: Powered by intellect. Driven by values. (2001)
23. 3Com UK: Possible made practical (2003).
24. Electronics Boutique (US): We take games seriously (2003).
25. Dropbox: All Yours.
And now – Some Slogans that stood for an industry disruption
01. BlackBerry: Be Together. Not the Same.
02. Palm: Making Technology Personal Again.
03. Sun Microsystems: Open systems for open minds (1984) and We make the net work (2002).
04. Uber: Move the way you want.
05. Airbnb: Belong anywhere.
06. Dell: Be Direct.
07. Sun Microsystems: We put the dot in dot-com.
08. Microsoft Xbox: Jump in.
How can we forget! Slogans that broke every expiry date.
01. Nokia: Connecting People.
02. Motorola: Hello Moto.
03. Intel: Intel inside.
04. YouTube: Broadcast yourself.
05. Netflix: Netflix and Chill.
Bonus: Slogans with an interesting back-story
01. Apple: The ‘Think Different’ was boldly unveiled at the October Seybold Seminars San Francisco by Steve Jobs in his keynote in 1997.
02. Facebook: The ad with the line ‘Chairs are like Facebook’ was created to celebrate the one billion user mark. But the ad got a lot of flak instead. It was criticized by people, industry-watchers and bloggers heavily before the 90-second spot even hit television. The campaign was, reportedly, cancelled.
03. Apple: It is etched in almost every Baby Boomer’s memory. The 1984 Apple commercial introduced Macintosh as the symbol of empowerment. The ad showed a women athlete running in white vest and orange trunks. As guards are chasing her, she throws a hammer on the big theatre screen that many hypnotized, mind-numb prisoners are watching. With Olympian effort, she sends it flying into the screen, disrupting the status quo of personal computing and promising the world that with the words…
“On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”
The ad showcased the Mac as a tool for combating conformity and ushering in originality – It was created by the legendary director Ridley Scott (of Gladiator fame) with PR firm Chiat/Day. As Scott said in an interview later: They’re not saying what [the Mac] is, they’re not showing what it is…They’re not even saying what it does. “It was advertising as an art form. It was devastatingly effective.”
04. Dell: Dude, You Are Getting a Dell: This commercial campaign still captured a lot of attention in the earlier 2000s. It had a character called Steven — an easy-going, cool teenager with the art of charming parents into buying Dell computers for their families. It became a popular spot for Dell.
05. AT&T: More Bars in More Places: This line was interesting as it, supposedly, abandoned the company’s previous campaign of “fewest dropped calls”. Was it because it could not live up to the promise? Was it just a marketing left-turn? Mark Segal, a spokesman for AT&T’s wireless business responded to a media query by Wired: We are still continuing to run ads that emphasize the importance of not dropping calls. That campaign is continuing. But for some time now we have been transitioning the overall messaging of our advertising to what we call ‘more bars in more places’ because that’s the number one reason cited by folks when they think about a high-quality network. And more bars in more places translates into coverage—how much coverage does your network give you—and we have the largest digital wireless network in the country.”
06. Intel: Moore and his co-founders created their initial logo, with the dropped “e,” which endured well through the 1980s. As the personal computer arrived and the need for a new appeal became pressing, Intel had to resort to a different branding – a challenging task because this product was, always invisible, always located inside the computer. So somewhere in the 90s, it introduced a new logo that took this fact head-on—featuring the phrase “Intel inside”—now PC-producers would put a sticker with this logo on any product in which their microprocessors were used. This brought in public brand visibility even when their actual product was tucked somewhere inside.
07. Verizon: Can you hear me now–These ad spots ran between 2002 and 2011 featuring a character named Test Man. He donned a Verizon jacket and large glasses and travelled around to test the strength of Verizon’s network. Consistently, he would step to ask the tech on the other side of the line: “Can you hear me now?” In 2022, this Test Man won an award from Entertainment Weekly for “Most Mysterious Pitchman.”
08. Microsoft vs. Mac: (Microsoft vs Mac) Another Apple campaign: The series of 66 commercials, also known commonly as “Mac vs. PC,” were very popular and very smooth in the way they attacked a competitor’s weaknesses. They featured actors John Hodgman, as a Bill Gates-lookalike—PC, and Justin Long, as a Steve Jobs personifying a hip Mac computer. The ads showed these two computers in direct conversation with each other underlining different features of Mac computers that scored well above its PC counterparts. It covered security, ease of use, rebooting etc. The ads were not just playful, cleverly written and funny, but also compassionate. Mac was always telling sad sack PC not to be so hard on himself—while bringing attention to the boring part of computing.
Well, the battle for creating memorable, attention-grabbing and sales-pitch-friendly taglines keeps going on. That’s what keeps advertising busy and alive- whether you are selling a network or a computer or a game a hardware chip. As the business mogul Peter Nivio Zarlenga puts it well, “In our factory, we make lipstick. In our advertising, we sell hope.”
By Pratima H