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How to Write an Arresting Tagline: Quiz Answers

Photo by ♠ le max (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo by ♠ le max (CC BY-SA 2.0)

When you are selling factual television show, whether you are sending an email, writing a proposal or pitching in an elevator, you need to capture the attention of a buyer within seconds. The best way of doing that is to boil down your concept into a single succinct sentence that captures the essence of your programme, suggests the content and makes your commissioner want to know more.

A successful tagline (aka logline or strapline) looks deceptively simple and obvious, but they are fiendishly difficult to devise; and you need to have thought your idea through thoroughly in order to do it right. That means a lot of work, but you knew that, right?

The best way to understand taglines is to look at what other people have come up with, so are a few to get you going (if you want to try guessing the answers, go to this version).

Remember, the first thing your buyer will look at is the title, so the tagline should complement and build upon it, so they get an instant feel for the tone and content of your programme.

SPOILER ALERT: Quiz answers below. 
  1. There’s only one winner …. and no second prizes. – The Apprentice
  2. is the series that hunts out the geniuses of the junkyard. – Scrapheap Challenge
  3. Perhaps the world’s first make-UNDER show. – Snog, Marry, Avoid
  4. Everyone’s on pins & needles. – Project Runway
  5. Who’s watching you? – Big Brother
  6. 39 days… 16 people… ONE… survivor! – Survivor
  7. Bring the bling. – America’s Next Top Model
  8. Monday night fever. – Dancing with the Stars
  9. Thousands audition… Millions vote…. One wins. – American Idol
  10. You can run, but [Dog will] get you! – Dog the Bounty Hunter
  11. It’s under Yellowstone. And it’s overdue. – Supervolcano
  12. I can smell it now. – Dirty Jobs
  13. Be a traveler, not a tourist. – Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
  14. We call it a fantasy. They call it home. – The Girls Next Door
  15. They put the funk into dysfunctional. – The Osbournes
  16. The world is waiting… GO! – The Amazing Race
  17. She’d kill to get her shot. – Snapped
  18. Engaged, Enraged. About to be committed. – Bridezillas
  19. They don’t just tell the myths; they put them to the test. – MythBusters
  20. 26 sums of money, 26 suitcases and one question: [Deal or No Deal] – Deal or No Deal

Give yourself a point for each one (and subtract five if you failed to get no. 6 correct).

If you didn’t do that well, you can console yourself with the thought that the taglines weren’t doing their job properly.

And, as ever, feel free to share, tweet or comment.


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