Advertising that targets the sense of taste is tricky. The level of intrusion possible with other senses is not possible with taste; attempting to do so would likely lead to assault and battery charges — not really workable.
But ad men are a clever lot. Without incurring liability by physically cramming something into our mouths, they found a way to leverage taste all the time.
Also known as “tagline” in the U.S. or “strapline” in the U.K., a good slogan can be a vital and powerful part of branding. For some products, the slogan is the driving force — even more than the logo. This can be important when your product doesn’t really merit its own logo, which is the case for a lot of food products.
We blame Napoleon Dynamite for the weird commercials we’ve been seeing for Skittles over the past few years. But they’ve been using the slogan, “Taste the Rainbow” since around 1994, and the phrase has certainly become synonymous with the candy.
Coca-Cola started talking about the taste of its product in 1956, with “Coca-Cola … makes good things taste better.” They went along that vein for many years before moving on to other things; however, Diet Coke has been using “Just for the taste of it” off and on for the entirety of its existence.
Most attempts at a lower-calorie version of a food have a distinct cardboardy flavor — if we’re being charitable. Miller Brewing Company knew this, so they rolled out their “Tastes Great, Less Filling” slogan and campaign. That ad campaign went on to be listed by Advertising Age magazine as the eighth greatest in history.
Even cigarettes got on board the flavor train. Many tobacco companies made much of their product’s taste, but the long-running Winstons campaign (1954-1972) achieved pop culture standing like few others did.
Taste is a huge part of any dining experience, and everyone knows it. So for restaurants, talking up taste is a no-brainer. They don’t always explicitly say the word “taste,” but they often invoke it.
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