Taglines: Don’t Punt with Puns

Lately, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of businesses that use puns in their taglines. As an avid lover of puns, you might expect me to approve of this marketing move. But using a pun in a tagline is the ultimate punt– it’s lazy and a way to escape truly thinking about how to communicate with customers. A tagline is an opportunity to succinctly tell customers what is most important to them about your business and leads them to want to learn more.

A pun might make customers laugh (or groan…), but will it convince them to buy? Usually not, because a pun isn’t designed to differentiate you in a meaningful way from your competitors. I saw an excellent example in Chicago this week of a business awkwardly trying to use a pun as a differentiator:

This bakery was advertising”We Bake to Differ” in an effort to differentiate themselves from competitors, but their attempt just doesn’t work. After reading this tagline, customers are left with a myriad of questions– What do they bake? How is it different? Do I care that unspecified baked goods are different, anyway?

To illustrate the difference, look at the tagline for Abby Girl Sweets in Cincinnati:

Although the graphics and tagline certainly aren’t perfect, “A Cupcakery. Every Batch from Scratch” is a much better tagline than a pun-based one. Customers know they can visit this bakery for a made-from-scratch cupcake. That’s relatively differentiated and much better than “We Bake to Differ.”

P.S. While scouring the web and my memory for bakery-based tagline examples, I realized the bakery world has scant to offer. I welcome any reader submissions and will update this post with any great examples. Just email amanda@zooinajungle.com.

5 thoughts on “Taglines: Don’t Punt with Puns

  1. Excellent observations! And you’re right about the efficacy of the second tagline, because I now really want a made-from-scratch cupcake.


    amanda Reply:

    Thanks, Laura. As soon as I read the Abby Girl Sweets’ tagline, I also wanted a cupcake. Perhaps bakeries sell such compelling products that they don’t need the most amazing taglines?


  2. I agree with what you’re saying here, sometimes when people engage in marketing they get too clever for themselves and lose sight of the objective…to directly tell the client what it is you offer and what you can do better then anyone else.

    I use to be a banker, but I lost interest.


    amanda Reply:

    That’s a great point, Chris. I’ve certainly witnessed the stereotypical agency caught up in the cleverness of their own ideas and leaving the client’s profitability in the dust.

    And you’ve put a pun right where it should be… in the comments. Very nice, hehe.


  3. I disagree. I understood the bake pun and it didn’t make me question anything. Lighten up, most people find them amusing.


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