The Use of Slogans

Politicians love to use slogans. Various popular movements have also used them. A slogan is supposed to compress some longer message or concept into a short phrase that is easily remembered. The aim is for the maximum possible number of people to remember the slogan. If, when they are voting, that slogan pops into their head, their vote might be influenced.

Short and pithy slogans work well on buttons, bumper stickers, headlines, posters and handbills. They are extremely versatile.

Slogan Features

Slogans may incorporate some of these.

  • Doublespeak: This is the use of language and words carefully constructed to conceal the actual meaning. Euphemisms work well here. For example, "enhanced interrogation" actually means torture.
  • Glittering Generalities: These are vague, broad statements that will connect with the audience's beliefs and values. They really don't say anything substantive. Slogans make great examples. The vagueness means that the implications, though varying for different people, are always favorable. Think of peace, freedom, justice, family values, etc.
  • Vagueness: Watch for this everywhere, even in news reporting. It can be a form of disinformation. "Remember the first rule of disinformation analysis: truth is specific, lie is vague. Always look for palpable details in reporting and if the picture is not in focus, there must be reasons for it." (Greg Sinaisky) See Detecting Disinformation Without Radar. Vagueness in a slogan is reason to question it - carefully.

Remember that the purpose of a slogan is to influence your actions.