How to create an effective campaign slogan

A young supporter holds an Obama sign
A young supporter grabs her own sign during a rally with Michelle Obama in St. Paul, Minn.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

Political slogans can be the difference between a campaign that sounds tight, focused, and smart, and a campaign that's in search of itself.

President Obama is looking for a campaign slogan---"Change you can believe in"-- and "hope" apparently won't work for an incumbent dealing with a struggling economy.

Pete Snyder, CEO of Disruptor Capital and a former pollster and media consultant, said it will be tough after his slogan's success in 2008.

"When you run a brilliant marketing campaign, no matter how good the product is, it often doesn't live up to its hype," he said.

Dan Schnur, director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, said social media was a big component of Obama's campaign success.

"What Obama did in 2008 was to realize that online, social media isn't meant to be a one way conversation," he said. "It was a risk on Obama's part because campaigns thrive on message discipline - if you have tens of thousands of people on Facebook, your message won't be a disciplined one. Obama decided it was worth the risk in their mind to sacrifice discipline in order to make their supporters feel part of the team and it paid off."

Snyder and Schnur will join The Daily Circuit Thursday to give us the inside scoop on the often-messy process of how campaigns come up with slogans--and why many of them don't work.


A lot goes into creating a political slogan. The simplest phrases take a lot of thought.

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