Taglines: Where have I heard that before?

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

“The Truth is out there.”

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

“They’re here…”

“In space…no one can hear you scream.”

These statements have become entrenched in our memories and the visuals that accompany them are the first and foremost example of marketing excellence.  They strike chords within us and we find ourselves remembering them nearly three decades after the fact.  They are taglines and though not dissimilar from loglines, they evoke an entirely different feeling and are remember long after the curtains have closed.

Taglines are simple and provocative.  They do not tell a story or sell a product in their own right.  They simply convey an emotion, usually a strong one, a message with intent and purpose.  Whether it be fear, anger, justice, love, hope, or curiosity, they are one of the most important parts of marketing a film.  Oftentimes, taglines are everchanging.  Sometimes, dialogue within the film or even outside of the film becomes a tagline.  This is evidenced in some of history’s finest creations of celluloid media.  The phrases, “I swear I will never go hungry again” or “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” are just as important to the emotional driving forces behind “Gone with the Wind”.  In those days, films did not use taglines, Hollywood being so prolific in American life, they were actually unnecessary.  Nowadays, with 330 million Americans to sell to, they’ve become not only the norm, but the standard.  The aforementioned phrases will forever draw people to the film as they are undeniable statements regarding the human condition and everyone can relate to them.

Designing a tagline is almost as difficult as a logline, the latter being a single sentence that defines and describes the film to possibly producers and production houses.  The tagline is a marketing element that helps to sell the film after it has been made.  Hence, they must capture not the subject, but the emotion of the subject.

Keep in mind the emotional totality of your project when designing your tagline.  Does it convey the truth behind the project?  If it’s a Michael Bay film, “Explosion!” would be a good one.  Does your tagline provoke the audience to look farther and deeper?  If not, go back to the drawing board.  Don’t hesitate to create several taglines.  Marketing several different ones will help to determine which works the best.  Look over the script and see if there is any dialogue that could make a decent tagline and perhaps you could play with it slightly to increase its stand-alone power.

Nevertheless, taglines will be important after the actual film is produced as they will be instrumental in selling your project to the limitless individuals that will peruse the aisles of the local video rental house or even the posters at the local theater.  With the right tagline, you’ll grab more attention than your actual film will anyday.