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OntoBox Training Presents

The Official Guide to 2016

US Presidential Election Campaign Slogans

Nonpartisan grades, explanations and analysis for all 21 TAGLINES, including candidates who have dropped out!

2016 IS AN ELECTION YEAR.

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which makes 2015 the bulk of the presidential primary season. Candidates have been out in full force this year, hogging your TV, taking over the airwaves, and presenting their pitch to the American voters. It may not be the traditional way we think about brand marketing, but each of these campaigns relies on the power of their brand marketing strategies to woo voters and win elections.

Presented here is OntoBox Training’s analysis of all 21 presidential slogans for the 2016 US Presidential Election, even those who have dropped out of the race. In developing this guide we took great care to follow several rules:


1) We focused only on taglines, not the entire brand.

As defined in The Brand Map™, a “brand is a set of signs, aesthetics, and codes that differentiates a company, product, or service and influences purchasing behavior.” In this case, we focused only on the “codes” part of that definition by focusing on the key, condensed selling points that make up each candidate’s tagline. This isn’t the whole brand; a tagline isn’t everything, and a campaign can do well with a bad tagline or perform poorly with a good one. It’s just easier to do well when you have a good one.


2) We assessed each tagline in context of the larger political environment.

We looked at plenty of news in developing this, but rather than including an in-depth news analysis, our goal was to offer you an assessment of each and every candidate’s tagline from a brand marketing perspective. This guide is less about the news cycle and more about how the individual taglines will perform with voters.

3) We didn’t take sides.

We’re not predicting anything or urging anyone to vote a certain way, nor are we overestimating the power of a tagline. OntoBox Training doesn’t back a presidential candidate; we just critiqued these slogans to give you our take on who is doing a good job branding their candidate.


PRESENTED HERE ALL 21 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TAGLINES WITH ANALYSIS, GRADED AND PRESENTED FROM WORST TO BEST. ENJOY!

“A RECORD OF LEADERSHIP”

PERRY

RICK PERRY

STYLE: F
It’s difficult to comment on the style of a slogan that is relatively styleless. It’s all subject and no verb. It tries to own ongoing leadership, something that everyone running for president has some record of. This slogan is so easy to forget that I have to continually look up at it to remember what it is that I’m criticizing. Nothing is worse than a bland tagline.

POSITION: F
Perry relied on a very similar position during his first attempt at taking the White House: that of a long-time governor of a state with a large budget. His track record failed to get him elected that time; this time there are even more candidates in the race claiming a long track record of success. In fact, when the race first began, Scott Walker claimed a very similar market position to that of Perry, thereby immediately crowding his space on the presidential stage and hurting both candidates. Since then, both have dropped out.

OVERALL: F
There are multiple reasons Rick Perry is no longer in the presidential race. One of those reasons was lagging fundraising numbers. An uninspiring message is definitely one reason those numbers might lag. Perry’s brand just hasn’t materialized on a national stage.

“LEADERSHIP YOU CAN TRUST”

WEBB

JIM WEBB

STYLE: D-
By using the pronoun “You”, Webb’s slogan speaks directly to the reader, which establishes a nice, personal tone. Other than that, Webb’s slogan is empty and forgettable. Leadership, once again, is a concept that every president owns by virtue of being the President of the United States, so it really doesn’t separate Webb from the other candidates. And as far as declaring that you can trust him, well, what candidate wouldn’t say that? This slogan reads like a tagline for a used car dealership.

POSITION: F
Declaring how trustworthy you are is the perfect way to get people not to trust you. Webb may have been trying to play up his credentials as a policy leader and foreign policy thinker, or imply something negative about his opponents, but this slogan fails to accomplish either of those goals.

OVERALL: F
Jim Webb’s candidacy had several problems. He has dropped out of the Democratic race and is considering running as an independent. Should he decide to do so, he should consider a new slogan.

“NEW LEADERSHIP”

OMALLEY

MARTIN O’MALLEY

STYLE: F
“Hey, by the way, as the new leader of this country,
I will be a new leader of this country.”

POSITION: D
O’Malley’s campaign seems to take a page out of the Obama 2008 playbook. By using “Change”, the Obama team managed to create a two-sided slogan that suggested a departure from Bush policies while implying John McCain would continue those policies. He also managed to become the inevitable; a “changing of the guard”. The problem is that the O’Malley isn’t a huge departure from the Obama White House in terms of policy, but is a huge departure in terms of charisma. The slogan may mean to imply that Hillary Clinton offers more of the same, but voters are unlikely to draw the connection between his slogan and her candidacy. There’s just not enough punch to stand out, a real shame in a primary with so few Democratic candidates.

OVERALL: F
O’Malley entered this race in the unenviable position of having to take on a decorated member of one of America’s most powerful political families and an upstart insurgent with the credentials to directly oppose her. He needed to do something daring with his brand to stand a chance. This tagline isn’t the answer.

“ALL IN FOR JEB”

BUSH

JEB BUSH

STYLE: F
“Jeb’s slogan is vague in everything except who it is about. This is an indication that the Bush strategists believe he can rely 100% on his personal brand. “All in” is also a gambling term; why would you want to sound like a casino when you’re selling yourself to be the leader of the free world? Poker players will potentially realize the upside of “all in”, but at best, this slogan communicates he has a good chance of “winning big” and doing great things, but you may also lose everything you own.

POSITION: F
The candidate is the slogan; the problem with that is that the Bush family name, like any other famous name, carries its own history. To win, it would make sense for him to differentiate himself from the bad things the family has done while embracing the good things. This slogan bets entirely that the Bush legacy resonates positively enough with voters to carry him to victory. The slogan secondarily seeks to be universal by appealing to everyone, a completely impossible task. In politics you need 50%+1. The Bush team should have positioned for that instead of using something so general.

OVERALL: F
The style of the slogan is counterproductive, and the strategy behind it takes a big risk on something that seems pretty unlikely. Most presidents leave office with a negative approval rating; the Bush Administration was no different. It has been a long time since then, and this slogan fails to effectively address that.

“BUILDING A BETTER COUNTRY”

KASICH

JOHN KASICH

STYLE: D
Kasich’s slogan is, for lack of a better word, generic. Almost as generic as the phrase “for lack of a better word”. The verb, building, is weak; the adjective, better, sounds empty; and the word country is vague. Which country does Kasich plan on building better? This slogan is like the off-brand, not so attractive, easily forgettable cousin to Trump’s tagline.

POSITION: F
Literally every candidate believes they are building a better country. The question is what that country looks like. Good presidential slogans are broad enough to encompass large crosssections of the voting population while still offering the voters a somewhat specific vision of how to improve the country. This merely relies on the voters’ willingness to trust the Kasich Campaign’s ability to improve things. In branding, it’s more important to be different than it is to be better; presidential politics play by the same rules. Does better mean more secure? More prosperous? Freer? Kasich needs something specific to win, especially in a race where he is considered moderate rather than a natural fit for the base of his party.

OVERALL: F
Kasich needs more than this to win. “Better” is never a strong position to use. It’s too unclear and nebulous to mesmerize voters into pulling the lever in favor of the candidate.

“TANNED, RESTED, READY”

JINDAL

BOBBY JINDAL

STYLE: D
Like Carson’s slogan, Jindal’s tagline uses a three step Boom Boom Bam approach, but it reads more like the title for a mediocre country album. The three words used here share very little in common and don’t build on one another to present a strong message. The first word is a nod towards his heritage, “Rested” doesn’t make much sense or create any new context (if anything, it makes it sound like Jindal hasn’t done much leading up to his presidential campaign), and “Ready” is, once again, a prerequisite for every candidate running for president. It is a fairly memorable campaign slogan, but for all the wrong reasons.

POSITION: D-
It’s no secret that ethnicity can play a role in presidential politics. Jindal’s slogan was a direct counter to those criticizing him for supposedly distancing himself from his heritage. While there is a level of gutsiness to responding with something so “on the nose”, this slogan seems to focus his entire campaign on his skin tone, “rest” and “readiness”. As much discussion as there has been in the past two elections of Barack Obama’s race and the role it played in elections, Obama’s camp never used something as directly connected to his background as Jindal has in this tagline. Additionally, as mentioned in our synopsis of Lindsey Graham’s slogan, being ready is a prerequisite, not an advantage. “Rest” sits poorly against the “hardworking” image portrayed by other campaigns.

OVERALL: D-
Like Rick Perry’s campaign, Bobby Jindal’s had a hard time getting off the ground. His tagline was good for a little attention and a few chuckles, but in a year when Trump is filling huge stadiums and saturating the news, this tagline was good for little more than a flash in the pan. Jindal’s exit from the race was unsurprising.

“READY TO BE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ON DAY ONE”

GRAHAM

LINDSAY GRAHAM

STYLE: F
Not only is this slogan redundant, it’s confusing, inactive, and empty. First, the prepositions “in” and “on” are too close together. It’s the equivalent of saying that something is IN a box ON the counter, requiring the reader to take an extra step to figure out what the claim is actually referencing when all it’s really expressing is that Graham can do the job that is already expected of a president. The second problem with this slogan is the phrase “ready to be”, which- in the context of a presidential slogan- brings nothing new to the table. By running for president, it’s already assumed that each candidate feels ready or else they wouldn’t be running in the first place.

POSITION: D
Our first reaction to this tagline: “Well I hope so!” Being ready is just a prerequisite to the job, and Commander in Chief is pretty much synonymous with “President”. On the other hand, “Commander and Chief” speaks more to the national defense needs of the job without considering the other aspects of leadership. Graham’s campaign seems to be seeking contrast with the previous president, who many in the GOP believe was not ready for foreign policy and was too inexperienced to do the job. There are several problems with that though, the most prominent of which is the fact that Barrack Obama isn’t running again. Graham is also in a field full of candidates who can claim to have made foreign policy decisions, including several senators and a former Secretary of State. Therefore, the position fails to separate him from the rest of the candidates in an effective way.

OVERALL: D-
Lindsey Graham is currently far behind in the polls. His tagline is a symptom of why: he is known within the elite levels of the party as a foreign policy expert, but that’s not enough to propel him forward as a powerful candidate. It could be that there isn’t a natural position for him in this year’s election, but the poor branding doesn’t do him any favors.

“TELLING IT LIKE IT IS”

CHRISTIE

CHRIS CRISTIE

STYLE: F
Not only is Christie’s slogan vague, it’s unoriginal. “Tell it Like it is” is an expression that goes far back. For instance, Aaron Neville had a wildly popular single in 1966 with the same name. It can be considered a catchy slogan only because of it’s use in popular culture, but as a presidential campaign slogan, it’s a rip-off. Just telling it like it is.

POSITION: C-
The first and foremost positioning problem with Christie’s brand is that Trump has completely taken over the leading brand position as the candidate that is unafraid to say what he wants. Christie may have once been the candidate most likely to “speak his mind”, but Trump now owns that position and has more than enough money to defend it. Christie’s slogan does an OK job reminding voters of his “no-nonsense” attitude commonly associated with New Jersey, but even that is a double-edged sword, potentially hurting him in other regions of the United States where politeness is paramount in daily interactions. Toughness in a candidate is positive, but not if it comes with baggage.

OVERALL: D-
Christie’s team needs a nearly perfect campaign to win an election with this many candidates. This slogan is unoriginal and fails to separate him from the continual frontrunner in the race. One of the worst slogans of this cycle.

“REFORM. GROWTH. SAFETY”

WALKER

SCOTT WALKER

STYLE: D
Walker’s slogan is all brawn and no bite. It tries to own three concepts that most voters would love to see, but because of how they are structured, one after another, the reader forgets the first two by the time they get to “Safety.” The connotations of these three words are misleading to readers that know nothing about Walker’s policies. What does Walker plan to reform? Is the slogan referring to economic, political, or territorial growth? And the word “Safety” just doesn’t seem right here. Safety makes readers think of a hard hat and those goggles and face masks scientists wear when they are dealing with toxic fumes. Maybe the slogan is referring to security more so than safety? It’s hard to tell. There is no rhyme or rhythm that unites these three words, so from a branding standpoint, it has no hope of being retained by voters.

POSITION: C-
Populism wasn’t a bad category for Walker to attempt to own. As governor of a midwestern swing state, he has room to claim he knows what people want and has the ability to deliver it. Yet the ideas this slogan focuses on spread his position far too thin. It’s hard to be known as the candidate that can change the country, improve the economy and keep us safe better than anyone else; why not throw in how handsome the candidate is, too? This goes double considering the field: Rubio, Trump, Fiorina, Cruz, Kasich, and Huckabee all promise big changes as a key piece of their campaign; Fiorina and Trump have business credentials and almost every candidate has spent some time managing the economy; and Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton can all point to populist votes and/or decisions on major foreign policy options. There’s just not enough psychological ground for Walker to have survived.

OVERALL: D
Walker was touted as a strong contender prior to the race, a darling of his party and national icon to voters on his side of the aisle. His campaign seemed to believe he could be all things to all Republicans as well as those in the middle; instead, he dropped out of the race.

“A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY”

RUBIO

MARCO RUBIO

STYLE: D
It’s always good to sound new and fresh, but every year is the start of a new century. On the other hand, it’s 2016; are we in a parallel universe where 2016 is the start of a 100-year block? Will America be on a different time system than that of the rest of the world? Speaking of which, the “American” element of the slogan seems a bit forced. Essentially, the internal logic behind the tagline falls flat. “America” is a good word to use, but it’s almost a prerequisite for American presidential candidates. There’s also nothing particularly structurally interesting about this. It doesn’t use powerful compact language, a pleasant rhythm, or any other common, powerful phrasing effectively.

POSITION: B
Rubio wants to position as the youthful candidate in the race while maintaining his position as a strong, powerful leader. That’s a smart move, considering he is the youngest looking candidate in the race. On the other hand, his slogan sounds a lot like the former neoconservative think tank The Project for a New American Century. Trying to sound new and young usually works better when you don’t pick a name that reminds people of something old. Much of the base may not put those things together, or Rubio may be able to position himself in a way that that it is not a credible worry. Regardless, it’s one drawback to the slogan.

OVERALL: C
Rubio’s tagline reminds you that he is new, but doesn’t expand on that or bring new verbiage to the table. It’s not the worst tagline of the bunch. It’s just not as strong as it could be.

“PROSPERITY THROUGH PEACE”

CHAFEE

LINCOLN CHAFEE

STYLE: C
“Through” is a confusing preposition because it could mean to move inside of something to come out of the other end, or it could refer to the continuation of a process towards an end goal. In Chafee’s slogan, it obviously means the latter, but it runs the risk of sounding like “Peace” is something that he hopes to get through. Using peace as a means of prospering is a very powerful concept, and the alliterative nature of the slogan makes it stick in the minds of voters. That is if they take the time to stop and understand what the slogan actually means.

POSITION: B-
Lincoln Chafee’s slogan needed to be something exceptionally strong. By throwing in on the side of the presumed divide between Peace and Security he made it very clear where he stands on issues of national policy and separated himself in some respect from the Democratic frontrunner. His slogan speaks to the need for smart economics, also a plus. The problem is that Lincoln Chafee’s greatest strength as a politician is his willingness to do the right thing, even if it means standing out for doing it. As risky as it may seem to rest on that, that would have been his best shot this cycle.

OVERALL: C+
Lincoln Chafee has changed parties over the course of his career, a move that can present a barrier to entry into the White House by dampening the enthusiasm of the base. He also entered this cycle with perhaps more need than anyone else to jumpstart his candidacy in a way that had never been done before. This lacked the dramatic impact needed to make his candidacy work, and his elimination from the race demonstrated that.

“NEW POSSIBILITIES. REAL LEADERSHIP”

FIORINA

CARLY FIORINA

STYLE: C
The parallel structure of Fiorina’s slogan is nice, but from a branding standpoint, it is better to own a specific singular idea in the mind of your audience. Here we are presented with two fairly vague ones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just makes the slogan, and what it represents, less memorable. Fiorina’s slogan also tells rather than shows us what “New Possibilities” await or what it means to be a “Real” leader.

POSITION: B-
Fiorina’s advantage in the race is that she is the only woman running on the GOP side and she has some of the strongest private sector credentials in the field. The “new possibilities” are a slight nod to those strengths, while the note on her “leadership” calls to mind her time as CEO of HP. As good a job as the slogan does to put those ideas at the forefront of the minds of voters, leadership and newness is already oversaturated in campaign slogans. Furthermore, “real leadership” is fairly general. Like most real-world challenges, Fiorina’s dilemma is how to draw attention to what makes her different without narrowing her position to “the female candidate” (where she has to go head to head with Clinton) or “the business candidate” (where she has to take on Trump).

OVERALL: C+
There’s nothing terrible about Fiorina’s slogan, but for a candidate with some non-traditional appeal in an exceptionally crowded race, it’s not going to help her stand out. Fiorina would be better served to focus on one singular idea that resonates with a broader audience. Her management credentials offer her an opportunity to do so, but she has not yet taken advantage of them.

“HEAL, INSPIRE, REVIVE”

CARSON

BEN CARSON

STYLE: C
Carson’s slogan uses three, positive, action-oriented verbs. Action-oriented slogans are good at getting people to act, but they often fail to represent the actual candidate. It’s better to own ideas rather than actions, which is why Obama’s slogans, “Hope” and “Change” were so successful. The three-word structure has advantages and drawbacks, especially once you consider the nature of the words themselves. One-word slogans are powerful because they own one idea; owning three words in the mind of the market is challenging. The interplay between the three words is also loose: “revive” is technically a more intense version of “healing”.

POSITION: B
Carson’s slogan is unique to him and plays to the party’s base. The candidate is a well known neurosurgeon, so “heal” and “revive” are words that fit with his most impressive accomplishments. The words also are a callback to Christian religious reformation; “revival” and “healing” are at the core of religious practice for many evangelical voters. Like Ted Cruz’s slogan, the slogan does imply there is something currently problematic with American society, that it needs “healing”.

OVERALL: B-
Carson’s campaign has the right idea in that they are weighing heavily on his best distinctions. He is one of the only medical professionals in the race and is easily the most celebrated. This marks him squarely as someone outside the establishment and Beltway politics as a whole, which is his best shot for winning. The problem is his slogan spreadsthe message just a bit too thin and fails to paint an exact picture of who he is.

“A POLITICAL REVOLUTION IS COMING”

SANDERS

BERNIE SANDERS

STYLE: C
There is nothing catchy about Sanders’ slogan, although the promise of an imminent political revolution is fairly memorable. The anticipation of the final clause, “is Coming”, shows that Bernie is both confident and exciting, like an action movie planned to come to a theater near you. Stylistically, Bernie’s slogan is far from the worst of the bunch, but it definitely is not the best. Strong, but not overpowering. Memorable, but not unforgettable.

POSITION: B
Sanders’ messaging as a whole has been somewhat daring. He has declared himself a “socialist”, taken hard verbal stances against large institutions, implemented the highly successful “#FeeltheBern” hashtag, and used the words “revolution” and “rigged economy” in a high number of his policy statements. Sanders is more than willing to play the role of insurgent in his party, and all of his messaging speaks to that.

OVERALL: B-
This slogan does a good job representing who the candidate is, but it doesn’t make a strong case for the candidate. Sanders may have earned a fervent base and a strong war chest, but he needs to persuade the voters that the “revolution” is something they should back.

“RESTORE THE AMERICAN DREAM FOR HARDWORKING AMERICANS”

SANTORUM

RICK SANTORUM

STYLE: B-
Rick Santorum’s campaign slogan is one of the most specific of the bunch, but it’s not the catchiest. It’s strong in a branding sense because it speaks directly to Santorum’s audience of “Hardworking Americans”. And the use of epanalepsis (repeating a word from the beginning of a phrase at the end, which in this case is the word “American”) strengthens this slogan rhetorically. But there still seems to be something missing, a rhyme or a rhythm, that can make this slogan go from alright to unforgettable.

POSITION: B
Santorum is known for his socially conservative credentials and populist economic policies. This slogan speaks more to the second than the first, allowing him to appeal to more religious and socially conservative voters while differentiating himself as a candidate with the average needs of middle class voters in mind. The position is still somewhat generic, and may not have enough strength to overcome other hardships with his candidacy, but it’s an honest, credible, candid expression of who the candidate is and what he cares about.

OVERALL: B
Rick Santorum has a nice slogan; that’s it. “Nice” is good enough in some markets to pick up some market share and survive, but it isn’t good enough to beat back all comers en route to arguably the most powerful position in the world. Then again, if a candidate can escape the primaries, the dynamics of the race change and all bets are off.

“REIGNITING THE PROMISE OF AMERICA”

CRUZ

TED CRUZ

STYLE: B
Strong building block concepts, good offer, easy to say, good cadence, ends on America. The structure starts with a strong verb that affects a really strong noun: the “Promise of America”. “Reigniting” evokes the traditional liberty torch imagery classic in American symbolism. The slogan also seems to imply that the flame of promise is dwindling.

POSITION: B+
This message speaks to the base of the party by reminding them that the last two terms of leadership were not what they wanted. The slogan is a bit more general, but still matches Cruz’s wish for more traditional policies. It also speaks to the “bootstraps” concept of America, “the Land of Opportunity”.

OVERALL: B
It’s a solid slogan, but there’s nothing exceptional about the way the words are arranged or the ideas those words express. Cruz has enough assets that this slogan should work well enough for his campaign.

“IT’S YOUR TIME”

CLINTON

HILLARY CLINTON

STYLE: B
This tagline works because it’s simple, short, and about the reader. It declares that Hillary will be led by her constituent’s desires, which, as a voter in a democratic nation, is a huge appeal. The conjugation of “It is” makes Clinton’s tagline sound young and hip, but it could have exuded more strength if it read, “It IS Your Time”.

POSITION: B
Clinton’s slogan is somewhat intriguing. It ties Clinton to the fate of America, and suggests she personifies their wishes and success. It also speaks directly to the voters, positioning her as personable and helping to inoculate her against some of the most common attacks lodged against her in previous political battles. There is a drawback in that Clinton has been a candidate in the past but came up short… meaning it was “not” the voters’ “time”, it seems. Yet many of her current supporters probably voted against her in the 2008 primary. The slogan is akin to most of the Clinton camp’s branding efforts: interesting and marked with professional-level creative concepts, but not quite perfect in its execution.

OVERALL: B
Clinton’s tagline works. It’s not the most powerful in the entire race, but it’s the most powerful on her side of the aisle and probably good enough to supplement her high name recognition and powerful warchest.

“FROM HOPE TO HIGHER GROUND”

HUCKABEE

MIKE HUCKABEE

STYLE: A
A well-branded slogan typically plays off of what’s been done before, and that is exactly what Huckabee’s campaign slogan does. It builds on the optimism of Obama’s Hope campaign and promises to take it to new heights. Better yet, Huckabee’s message centers around an alliteration (“Hope to Higher”) making it catchy and easy for voters to remember.

POSITION: B
Huckabee is an optimistic, faith-focused candidate. His political positions and wishes for America seek to take the small-town perspective to the national stage, an approach that could be very effective for many important national constituencies in the South, Midwest, and rural areas all over the country. It sneakily positions President Obama’s “Hope” as the equivalent of “lower ground” without sounding too negative. Unlike Cruz’s or Trump’s slogan, it makes the claim of a better America without making it sound like the state of American politics was or is in a decline. Huckabee’s political description matches his platform. The only question is whether or not the evangelical wing of the GOP is too crowded for another candidate given the presence of Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and other candidates who have expressed their credentials with that audience.

OVERALL: B+
Huckabee combines populism and moral principles to comprise the overall image of his campaign. His position is something that should sell well in his party and has sold well in the country at-large, but still may not be enough to vault him to victory.

“PEOPLE OVER POLITICS”

PATAKI

GEORGE PATAKI

STYLE: A
Pataki’s slogan is punchy, clear, and memorable. It owns the idea of prioritizing social needs and issues over political power and gain, which makes Pataki’s brand strong and focused. The construction of Pataki’s slogan literally pops off the lips and in the mind of those that read it with it’s alliterative “P” sounds separated by a preposition. It’s also one of the shortest, three word slogans of the bunch, and it actually means something.

POSITION: B+
Pataki entered the race as an underdog: a northeastern Republican with less funding than many of his competitors. This slogan adds an interesting dynamic to his brand that fits well with his general populist position: standing up for the citizens against the political nature of policy. The slogan makes him both bipartisan and juxtaposed to the growing influence of Washington, DC. It’s not necessarily the reddest meat that the base of the party can be fed, but it suggests the right thing and does just enough to offer him some space on the stage.

OVERALL: A-
Pataki’s team did a very good job with his slogan. There are still lots of barriers between him and the Oval Office: he’s not polling high enough to be included in party debates, Santorum and Bernie Sanders are both playing to the power of people over larger forces, John Kasich is playing up his own moderate credentials, Trump and Carson are filling up the news, and his general position may be more moderate than the GOP prefers. Yet if Pataki fails, his communications team can rest assured they did their best to avoid that fate.

“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”

TRUMP

DONALD TRUMP

STYLE: A
This slogan is short, to the point, and very memorable. It includes both assonant (the echoing “A” vowel sounds in the words “Make” and “Great”) and alliterative (American and
Again both begin with the letter “A”) techniques that give this slogan a balance that makes it perfect for a hat, a shirt, or even a hashtag.

POSITION: A
Donald Trump has flirted with presidential runs in the past but has never before officially thrown his hat into the ring. It’s safe to say that the position he has taken is a strong one, and that he knows how to brand. While Trump’s overall efforts have been mostly focused on leveraging the power of his own personal brand by using back-and-forth exchanges with candidates, politicians, and commentators, his tagline speaks to a larger national fervor. That fervor has earned him a solid block of GOP support that doesn’t easily erode, and positioned him to pick up a few more points here and there along the way. Whether or not Trump wins the election or wasever in position to do so, his branding has been spot on. Therefore, while his slogan does imply that the US is not currently great (somewhat echoing the slogans of Cruz, Huckabee, and John Kasich), it also speaks heavily to his specific position as an un-candidate.

OVERALL: A
Trump easily has the best credentials in the field of branding out of any of the 2016 presidential contenders; his name is on everything from steaks to broadcasting to goldplated buildings. His tagline is a symptom of his successful overall effort.

“DEFEAT THE WASHINGTON MACHINE. UNLEASH THE AMERICAN DREAM.”

PAUL

RAND PAUL

STYLE: A
Rand Paul’s campaign slogan presents two very strong promises written in a parallel structure that rhymes. From a branding standpoint, this makes the slogan catchy while remaining ultra-specific. The word choice is also extremely effective and passion driven with its verbiage of “Defeating” and “Unleashing” two concepts that resonate well in the psyche of American voters: Washington as a Machine and America as a land of dreams and opportunities.

POSITION: A
Rand is the libertarian candidate in the race. There is something people can appreciate about contrarian messaging in politics; a politician who is against politics is just what the doctor (Not Ben Carson) ordered for many Americans who believe more of the same will fall short of solving America’s problems. Calling “Washington” a “Machine” is popular within the Republican Party, as is “The American Dream”. The “American Dream” is also a popular idea in the independent libertarian worldview, a perspective that stresses personal responsibility.

OVERALL: A
Paul’s uniqueness in this race is his ideology. One way or another, that is something he has to own and make into a strength if he wants to win the nomination and the election. This tagline fearlessly declares its willingness to stand on the principles the candidate holds dear while separating him from his competitors.