6 great movie taglines and what copywriters can learn from them

Who says you can’t learn anything from the movies? Look to these glamorous examples of movie taglines for award-winning lessons in digital copywriting…

Tagline 1. ‘She’s Everything. He’s just Ken.

Movie in question: Barbie (2023)

Why it’s a good tagline: It does the unexpected, inverting the usual ‘actor as star’ cliché and putting the female lead firmly in the spotlight. It’s cute. And it’s funny.
Lesson for digital copywriting: Turning things on their head can have a big impact. There’s also a lesson to be learned about creating recognisable, repeatable content formats from the ‘This Barbie Is’ meme.

Tagline 2. ‘You’ll believe a man can fly.’

Movie in question: Superman: The Movie (1978)

Why it’s a good tagline:  Still an absolute classic. It’s a promise focused on the ends not the means of the movie’s special effects. Audiences were prepared to turn a blind eye to back-projection and wire work. What they really wanted was to enjoy the romance of Christopher Reeve’s gentle giant flying over Metropolis.
Lesson for digital copywriting: When writing to sell, always focus on product benefits, not product features, by modelling outcomes rather than tasks. Show your readers how they’ll benefit from using your product and they’ll soon start to realise why they need it. Writing product pages is an art all of its own.

Tagline 3. ‘The World Forever Changes

Movie in question: Oppenheimer (2023)

Why it’s a good tagline:  It sounds absolutely epic – which is appropriate since Oppenheimer is about a seismic historical event and runs for a somewhat challenging 180 minutes and 9 seconds. 
Lesson for digital copywriting: Go big provided what you’re describing is genuinely big. Get it wrong and you’ll just sound pompous.

Tagline 4. ‘Put on a happy face

Movie in question: Joker (2019)

Why it’s a good tagline: It uses irony to bring us close to a character from whom we might otherwise feel alienated. We’ve all had the experience of needing to appear happy when we’ve felt anything but. And the familiarity of the expression juxtaposed by the bizarre image of Joker’s face helps draw us into his weird world.
Lesson for digital copywriting: Whatever you’re writing about, focus on human truths that your audience can relate to. Try to use real-life scenarios to illustrate what you want to say.

Tagline 5. ‘Reality is a thing of the past

Movie in question: The Matrix (1999)

Why it’s a good tagline: It does something we love – pique the audience’s curiosity in a way that’s genuinely intriguing without being irritating. At the same time, it resists complicating what turns out to be a very complicated concept.
Lesson for digital copywriting: It can be difficult to sum up a product or service that isn’t easy to explain. The trick – which this carries off perfectly – is to drill down to the essence of it and convey that in the simplest way possible. The details can wait until later.

Tagline 6. ‘Discomfort and joy

Movie in question: The Holdovers (2023)

Why it’s a good tagline: It very neatly sets expectations – this is essentially a Christmas movie, but not a completely feel good one. 
Lesson for digital copywriting: Think outside the box when it comes to seasonal content. What can you do to put a twist on traditional Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day comms? Our thoughts on 2023’s Christmas ads might offer some inspiration.

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