Transcreation Toolbox (II): The Literary Devices Behind Great Slogans

(Read initial article here.)

Here are some other exciting examples of slogans for brands that have made history. And an explanation why they have managed to stand out and work so well.

British Rail:

Image result for british rail: let the train take the strain

Six simple words and a rhyme. “Let the train take the strain”. There is assonance for a more powerful and memorable sound effect – to imitate the sound trains make and create product association, plus the product name “train” makes a reappearance in the word “strain“. Using words that are so similar phonetically creates a connection between the two. The train is also personified, it is a helper and a partner that “takes the strain” (figure of thought); the company and its services are humanized and made desirable.
As far as the rhythm of the slogan is concerned, the rising anapest, with long stresses on “train” and “strain“, only accentuates the rhyme and the sound connection (assonance + consonance) between the two terms, as it suggests that classical rail sound and an easy-going journey. The clear and direct call to action “Let…” rounds up the engaging call-to-action effect.

Image result for esso: put a tiger in your tank

The metaphor of putting a tiger in one’s tank is a powerful one. The energy of a tiger suddenly pouncing on its prey, the colors of a tiger’s skin are powerful suggesters of spark and fire. Again, the alliteration (“t” for tiger and tank), as well as the rising anapest (rhythm), with the stress on the first syllable of “tiger” and on “tank” create a strong parallel between the two words and an upbeat sensation. There is also a perlocutionary aspect here, with the author prompting the readers to do something. Thus the slogan is a persuasive appeal performed on consumers, to use this fuel which has the same characteristics (force, speed, stealth) that one normally associates with a tiger.

Check back here for more exciting slogans to come.



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