If there was one lesson from politics in 2016 it was to ditch slogans like Hilary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” and the Brexit Remain Campaign’s “Better Together”.
Both Gillian Tett in the Financial Times (article, “Make slogans great again”) and Gary Gibbon from Channel 4 News wrote about how supporters of Clinton in the US and Remain in the UK never adopted their ‘Together’ slogans. Tett talked about how Clinton’s followers struggled to remember “Better Together”, even campaigners at Democratic conventions often confused it with the “I’m with her” message. In the UK, Gibbon commented on how Leave voters had adopted the “Take Back Control” slogan, but that he hadn’t heard a single Remainer talk about “Better Together”.
The opposite is true for “Make America Great Again!” and “Take Back Control”. Supporters waved, wore and spoke to these messages. It helps that they’ve got a strong call to action, but their strength was also in tapping in to a particular mood. And that’s what all great slogans need to do. There’s a sense on the Clinton side that they didn’t ‘read the room’, which might explain why Clinton’s campaign team tested 85 slogans, from “It’s About You” to “Stronger At Home”.
“Make America Great Again!” wasn’t the most original line, (Ronald Reagan used “Let’s Make America Great Again” in his 1980 presidential campaign), but it hit home with supporters and did what all great campaign slogans need to do – it struck a chord.