Hi, it’s me again. My thanks to Verizon for letting me borrow their famous tagline.

For years, we watched the nerdy Verizon test guy scouring the earth to be sure you, the Verizon customer, had the most reliable coverage in the world. His only line of dialog was one persistent deadpan question: “Can you hear me now?”

The implied-but-never-heard-answer was always, “Yes.”

The line caught on. The test guy actor, Paul Marcarelli, who was a starving unknown before the campaign, said that within months, everywhere he went people shouted the question at him. They loved him – and by extension they loved Verizon, which became the undisputed cell phone leader in the country.

But the line soon soared beyond Verizon. How many times have you heard people ask the question just for laughs?

There was at least one laugh-out-loud parody so profane I’d be fired if I even gave you the link in which you see a miserable, disheveled office drone sitting in a bleak empty office at a barren little desk containing nothing but an old office phone. As the minutes tick by, he spends the day answering the phone, saying nothing but “yes” to an unidentified caller apparently asking the same question until he finally loses his sanity in a torrent of profanity so funny you could fall out of your chair laughing. The end reveals the caller to be none other than … the Verizon test guy.


Even more brilliant could have been the move last year by Sprint that got Marcarelli to switch networks. Except … what did they do with him? They turned him into a copy-heavy boring talking head named Paul, who switched to Sprint because Verizon is only 1 percent better.

Can you remember anything about those spots just a year later? But the nerdy Verizon test guy’s relentless pursuit of cell phone service perfection will reverberate in our memories for years to come. Just one line was all it took.

Which brings me to today’s topic – great taglines. Most taglines are so forgettable you don’t even notice them in the first place. But sometimes a line so perfectly aligns a company’s message with the wants, hopes and desires of the people they claim it as theirs.

Remember “Where’s the beef?” It quickly morphed from chintzy hamburgers to shorthand for the lack of quality in our disposable economy. Even politicians used the phrase. Likewise, when Apple said “Think different,” it was clearly about not just its computers but also the creative people who proudly use them.

Is there a brand manager, business owner or company CEO who would not appreciate a tagline even a fraction that good?

Obviously, a lot of things have to come into place to give birth to a great tagline like these. It certainly helps to have a great copywriter on your team. But even a mere mortal like me, a lowly junior account executive, can play a role in creating great taglines if we know the five tagline tips you can download for free right here.



I’m a junior account executive with an MBA from a school you may have actually heard of. I plan to continue sharing my views on what works and what doesn’t in the world of branding and marketing as long as I have even one reader. I welcome all comments. If you have a particular topic you’d like me to expound on, email me at BuzzTalksBiz@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

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