Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My first movie tagline

Just came across this post in Adweek about great movie taglines.

I often look at movie posters and wonder if I could do better (FACT: I could).

Then it got me wondering, who writes movie taglines? The answer, not surprisingly, is copywriters

I liked the movie-tagline-writer guy's description of the creative process as so methodical (even though the big doofus can't pronounce maths correctly).
After familiarizing himself with the plot and theme, Byers jots down words associated with the title. He often enlists the help of OneLook.com, a website that generates word lists based on root, prefix, and tone. From there, he uses Clichesite.com to find stock phrases and then brainstorms ways in which they might be twisted. “Sometimes it works out just like math,” he says.
I know what you’re thinking. There’s a site full of clichés?! Why didn’t someone tell me about this years ago? I could have saved myself literally hours of lazy thinking.

Anyway, here are my favouritest ever movie taglines.

Jaws 2
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.

Dumb and Dumber
For Harry and Lloyd, every day is a no-brainer.

The Big Lebowski
Her life was in their hands. Now her toe is in the mail.

The Silent Rage
Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him.

He was dead…but he got better.

(For anyone who hasn’t seen Crank, it’s basically the greatest movie ever. It may even be the best Jason Stratham movie ever. I don’t want to give away too much but basically, he has been poisoned and must keep his adrenaline flowing or he’ll die. That's right.)

All this movie-tagline research inspired me, so I thought I’d have a go at writing one of my own. I came up with this:

127 Hours
Think of your worst owie ever. This one is much worse.

Pretty good, huh?

(By the way, if you haven't seen 127 Hours, don't bother. Let's just say that whoever came up with the concept has a somewhat overactive imagination.)

If you can think of your own movie tagline that’s even better, put it in the comments.

Actually if you’re reading this at all, put something in the comments. I’m kind of wondering if anyone still reads this blog.


  1. I'm still reading. I use Onelook.com and also Rhymezone.com myself for copywriting stuff sometimes, but I think intentionally searching for clichés is a recipe for a shit outcome.

  2. Too hungover to make a decent stab at the movie tag-lines, but I thought I should express my interest in the continuation of this blog. That last line has the rattle of a man on the edge. Keep up the work.

    1. Anonymous, your kind words have moved me, thank you. It's just as well you're anonymous or I'd be tempted to stalk you.
      Holly, I see you were less shrewd. See you tonight maybe!

  3. Sister Act 2 - back in the habit.

    Genius. Absolute solid gold that.

    1. Back in the habit! Love it.
      In the process of my thorough research for this post I came across:
      FINAL DESTINATION 4 'Rest in Pieces'
      From Paris with Love. 'Two agents. One city. No merci.'

  4. You have to be a woman who reckons herself a bit to get comments these days. As far as tag lines are concerned I think it depends when you read them. Look at the 4 usual suspects ones on imdb. Prior to the seeing the film you'd probably go for 2, but after the film 1 all the way. The other two are bobbins. There we go - comment done. Keep writing.

    1. Wow the other two really are bobbins, "The truth is always in the last place you look." - way to ruin it for everyone

  5. You've already come up with a great tagline for what will surely one day be a pan-global blockbuster mega-hit super-movie. Real Men Write Long Copy: Thoughts on advertising and stuff.

  6. I do like:

    Alien vs Predator - Whoever wins, we lose

    How about:

    Twilight - It sucks

  7. Bonnie & Clyde: "They're young...they're in love...and they kill people."

  8. Mince, I still read your blog. But then I still rubberneck at car crashes.

  9. 127 hours is really great. love it. :)

  10. Laziest tagline I ever saw was for 'Clash of the Titans': Titans will clash.

  11. Don't rely too much on Byers' movie tagline system. Writing movie taglines requires a creative process. Once you get into a good rhythm, you can crank out hundreds of movie taglines.

    My American Pie tagline: "High school never taste so good"

    My The Thing tagline: "Trust nothing, fear everything"

    Use sarcasm, double entendres, focus on the premise, and create a movie tagline that is memorable.

    Movie Tagline

  12. 127 hours is based on true events. they didn't imagine that stuff up it actually happened.

  13. The Day After Tomorrow - "And you thought it was avoidable."

    Inception - "It's more than a mind game."

    (500) Days of Summer - "A story about love, and how it isn't always returned."

    The Hunger Games - "The games aren't what's most to fear."

    Se7en - "Which sin are you?"

    The Dark Knight Rises - "Flames will rise."

    District 9 - "They're here, but they're not welcomed."

    Bridesmaid - "Who let the dogs out?"