Denotative Meanings

Slogans are memorable mottos or phrases that characterize an idea or product and that are often used in political, religious, and commercial contexts. 1, 2 When used for commercial items such as cigarette packs, slogans reinforce the product’s identity by highlighting qualities such as glamour, quality, tradition, and other themes that are expected to appeal to the target market.

Slogans are typically impacted by typography, colour, finishes, and embossing and debossing, and other visual features. Slogans can interact with other textual elements on the pack, such as the brand family namebrand descriptor and monogram.


Kohli et al. (2007) suggest that “slogans play an important part in brand identity” and help in “relaying what makes the brand special.” 3


Overarching Theme Sub-Theme Connotative Chains
Lifestyle Luxury / Glamour  Examples of slogans that connote luxury quality:

  • “Premium tobaccos, cut beyond ordinary standards” (du Maurier)
  • “Superior quality” (Matinée)
  • “Carefully selected tobaccos blended to perfection” (Davidoff Gold)
Lifestyle Gender Virginia Slims slogans demonstrate how slogans can serve to align a product with a gendered movement, a set of ideals, and indeed a lifestyle:

  • “You’ve come a long way, baby;” “It’s a woman thing;” and “Find your voice”–> Female empowerment

The Vogue Superslims slogan demonstrates how gendered connotations of the slogan can overlap with those of the brand (family) name:

  • Vogue –> French word for ‘fashion;’ Fashion magazine –> Runways of Paris –> Elite clothing worn by beautiful models –> Attractiveness
  • “A thin and slender format”  –> Female form idealized by the fashion industry; weight loss from cigarette smoking –> Attractiveness

A John Player Standard pack slogan (“Quality tobaccos from the House of Player’s”) demonstrates how different words can contribute their own connotative chains:

  • “House” –>  Built by men, traditionally headed by a man –> Construction, patriarchy
  • “House of” –> House of cards –> Games and gambling
  • “Players” –> Sports, games and gambling
  • “Players” –> Men who sleep with a lot of women –> Sex
  • “House of Player’s” –> A house containing a lot of ‘players’ –> Playboy mansion –> Sex
Healthfulness Strength Slogans can reinforce the notion that some cigarettes are healthier than others. For example:

  • “A Thin and Slender Format” (Vogue Bleue) –> Not obese, not fat –> Healthy
  • “Fine Tobacco.  Smooth Taste.” (Vogue Caractere Slims, Matinee Gold) –> Fine and smooth –> Not rough, free from impurities  –> Pure, clean –> Healthy



  1. Wikipedia. Slogan. Available at: Accessed July 20, 2011.
  2. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Slogan. Available at: Accessed August 16, 2011.
  3. Kohli C, Leuthesser L, Suri R. Got slogan? Guidelines for creating effective slogans. Business Horizons 2007;50(5):415-422.