A lot goes into crafting a great marketing line—whether it’s a headline, tagline, slogan, or campaign idea. Among many factors, it needs to be provocative.
And what better way to provoke a thought and/or action than to ask a question?
In my opinion, many of the best statements in marketing history have been questions.
So I decided to conduct a poll on LinkedIn, to test what I consider to be the four best questions ever asked in marketing:
- “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”This 1980s campaign successfully elevated the quality perception of the brand, thereby justifying its premium price.
- “Where’s the beef?”Introduced in 1984, this slogan playfully pointed out Wendy’s superior burger-to-bun ratio, thus distinguishing it from key competitors.
- “Got milk?”Promoted by the California Milk Processor Board starting in 1993, this simple-but-hard-working question encouraged consumers to increasingly check and replenish their fridge.
- “Can you hear me now?”Throughout the 2000s, these TV spots addressed the most important consumer paint point and encouraged brand switching to Verizon’s ever-improving connection reliability.
So, according to the one poll, what is the all-time best marketing question? Well, it’s questionable. “Got milk” and “Where’s the Beef” ended up in a dead heat. And all four questions garnered a meaningful amount of support—even Grey Poupon’s, which is the oldest of the group.
The point of this post is less about which marketing question won and more about the power of a question in marketing.
There is dynamic power in a good question. I’ve experienced so many business meetings that moved in a better direction after someone had the courage to ask a question. Often a really smart question can add more value than a really smart statement. One person’s curiosity makes others curious.
The same is true in marketing.
Here are a few more marketing questions that immediately come to mind, because of how provocative and memorable they are:
- “Where do you want to go today?” (Microsoft)
- “Is it in you?” (Gatorade)
- “What’s in your wallet?” (Capital One)
- “Do you Yahoo!?”
- “Have you ever had a bad time in Levi’s?”
- “Have you driven a Ford lately?”
- “Is it live or is it Memorex?”
- “How do you spell relief?” (Rolaids)
- “Does she…or doesn’t she?” (Clairol)
- “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”
- “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” (Partnership for a Drug-Free America)
- “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”
Marketing needs to be provocative. And what better way to provoke a thought and/or action than to ask a question?
These are my thoughts on how brands can create stronger communications to connect more strongly with their target audiences. I would love to hear yours.
Thanks for reading.
p.s. If you’d like to connect more strongly with your target audience, I’d love to help. Please message me at Todd@LINKTrainingAndConsulting.com, or call me at (513) 240-8383