February 27, 2005

Save our slogans

There's the International Database of Corporate Commands. But where's the International Database of Corporate Questions ("Got milk?" "Does she or doesn't she?" "Where's the beef?" )? And the International Database of Corporate Statements ("We are driven." "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken." "Nothing runs like a Deere."), the International Database of Corporate Exclamations ("Look, Ma, no cavities!" "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" "It's Miller time!"), and the International Database of Corporate Descriptive Fragments ("The ultimate driving machine." "The quicker picker upper." "All the news that's fit to print.") Or -- well, you get the idea. The Advertising Slogan Hall of Fame documents some famous ones, and there are other lists here and here and elsewhere, but there's a long tail of more ephemeral slogans that collectively make up a lot of the language we see and hear every day. Is anybody documenting this stuff more systematically? Maybe the Wikipedia will?

[Update: Mike McMahon points out by email that the USPTO keeps track of those slogans that are registered as one sort of intellectual property or another. But the trademark database sees these things through funny spectacles: "Got Milk?" turns up a registration by the California Fluid Milk Processor Advisory Board for use on "ORNAMENTAL NOVELTY MAGNETS, SUNGLASSES, EYEGLASS CASES, AND HOLDERS FOR COMPACT DISCS; PRINTED MATTER, NAMELY POSTERS, PRINTED PAPER SIGNS, PAPER BANNERS, BUMPER STICKERS, FOLDERS, STICKERS, NOTE PADS, PAPER TABLE CLOTHS; AND PENCILS, ERASERS AND PENS; COFFEE CUPS, PLASTIC CUPS, DRINKING GLASSES, AND INSULATED THERMAL CONTAINERS FOR FOOD OR BEVERAGES; GOLF BALLS AND STUFFED TOY ANIMALS." Although I've seen this slogan thousands of times, it was just in newspaper and magazine ads, never on any of these products for which it's been registered with the USPTO. ]

Posted by Mark Liberman at February 27, 2005 06:52 AM