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Powerlines: Words That Sell Brands, Grip Fans, and Sometimes Change History

ISBN: 978-1-57660-304-8
288 pages
July 2008
Powerlines: Words That Sell Brands, Grip Fans, and Sometimes Change History (1576603040) cover image


Powerlines, the exceptional slogans that people remember long after the campaign ends, stand out from the barrage of marketing messages consumers face each day. A product, service, company, candidate, or an organization with a powerline outshines the competition every time.

Steve Cone, author of Steal These Ideas!, reveals the secrets to contemporary marketing's biggest mystery: how to conjure the phrase that will make a product irresistible and memorable. This book restores the lost art of creating killer slogans to its proper place: front and center in every campaign.

Drawing on examples of great and not-so-great lines from marketing, politics, and popular culture, Cone provides an irreverent, intelligent, and insightful primer on a singularly important aspect of brand building.

Silver Medal Winner, Advertising/Marketing/PR/Event Planning Category, Axiom Business Book Awards (2009)

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Car 54, Where Are You?

Part One: Powerlines.
Getting the Right Few Words to Every Nook and Cranny on the Planet.

1 Powerlines Defined.
Factors Distinguishing Powerlines from 99 Percent of All Written and Spoken Language.

2 Powerlines Take to the Air.
Radio, Television, and Powerlines: A Match Made in Heaven.

Part Two: The Powerline Perspective.
Countries, Candidates, Cultures, and Companies Rise or Fall on Powerful Lines, Mottos, and Sayings.

3 Uncle Sam Wants You, Your Mind, and Your Money.
How Governments Win Hearts, Minds, and Paychecks.

4 You Can't Put the Toothpaste Back in the Tube.
Why the Candidate with the Best Slogan Wins the Race.

5 Shots Heard Round the World.
How Eloquent Speakers and Writers Make Us Think and Rethink.

6 There Is Nothing Wrong with Your Television Set.
How Writers and Marketers Keep All Eyes Glued to the Screen.

Part Three: Put a Powerline in Your Tank.
Putting Powerlines to Work in a Marketing Campaign.

7 When It Rains It Pours.
Getting the Brand Promise Through—Whether Customers Want to Hear It or Not.

8 Jingles All the Way.
Commanding Attention with Music and Jingles.

9 The Gun That Won the West.
Transforming Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Brands.

10 Character Building.
Speaking in a Distinctive Voice: The Persuasive Power of Characters from Pitchmen to Spokescharacters to Spokespeople.


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Author Information

With more than thirty-five years at the top of the profession, Steve Cone, chief marketing officer for Epsilon, a leading provider of data-driven marketing technologies, has led campaigns for many companies including Citigroup, American Express, Fidelity, Apple, and United Airlines, as well as environmental groups, and presidential campaigns for both major parties. He is also the author of Steal These Ideas.
Of Cone, the Chicago Sun Times says, "Like most marketing executives whose opinions we respect, Cone is both cogent and blunt." The Wall Street Journal says, Cone "doesn't merely offer advice but unabashedly tells us what to do. He gets away with this less because of his advertising pedigree than because of the logic of the case he makes."
Cone lives in New York City.
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"An important primer. Steve Cone shows how picking the right words often makes the difference between success and failure."
—Larry King
Host of Larry King Live

"Marketing guru Steve Cone rediscovers the lost art of great slogans, mottos, and taglines. The lesson? Be all that you can be. Shots can still be heard 'round the world. Things go better with inspired taglines. And that's the way it is."
—L. Gordon Crovitz
Former publisher, The Wall Street Journal

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Powerlines: Words That Sell Brands, Grip Fans, and Sometimes Change History (US $22.95)

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