Tagline Saves Times Square — Imagine What a Powerful Nonprofit Tagline Can Do

Here’s a great story for those of you tasked with  nonprofit marketing: Yesterday the New York Times picked up on the fact that a tagline saved hundreds of lives in Times Square.

The tagline is,  “If You See Something, Say Something,” which has been used by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) since  2002 as an anti-terrorist strategy in the post-911 world.

It’s posted on almost every bus and subway and I dare say that 90% of New Yorkers know it well and how to respond. And most of us are eager to focus our watchful eyes and ears on the safety of our city. That’s the positive outcome of consistent use of a short, powerful tagline.

This tagline’s impact is rooted in:

  • Consistent and widespread use (throughout the NYC public transit system)
  • Focused seeding of an idea, then motivation of a clear, specific action.
  • Strong graphic illustration that conveys the tagline idea, in a glance.

If a tagline can save Times Square, imagine what it can do for your nonprofit organization.

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Photo: Sion Fullana

Nancy Schwartz on May 13, 2010 in Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Taglines | 2 comments
Tags:, , , , ,

  • christine

    This article resurfaces the challenge people have in differentiating between a tagline and a slogan.

    You refer to “If you see something, say something” as the MTA’s tagline but, technically, I believe it is a very effective campaign “slogan” ; albeit, for a long-lived Ad campaign.

    I’m pretty certain the MTA doesn’t have a tagline. If you look at their website or their other communications (general transit brochures/signage), you will not see this “slogan” used with their logo. It is only for this Ad campaign.


  • Nancy Schwartz

    Thanks for the clarification, NativeNYer. I’d say a campaign tagline….for sure.

<< Back to Main