How a Catch Phrase can be a Game Changer for your Brand

by on May 13, 2017
catch phrase

The power of the catch phrase in marketing

Intelligent marketers sensitive to consumer feelings always knew about the power of the catch phrase. They’ve used it strategically and enjoyed its fruits.

The Telugu movie, Baahubali-2 reinforced it yet again when it wrote history in India by grossing 1000 crore in less than a week of its release.

Marketing or no marketing, the two-part movie was a recipe for sure shot success anyway. The story-line is a rehash of elements borrowed from the two Indian epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana that have a timeless appeal among story consumers in the country. Combined with a strong script, a talented star cast, amazing performances, stunning visuals, extraordinary graphics, blah blah blah – all the typical elements that appeal to average movie-goers in India including myself.

The first part became the highest grossing film in India ever at 650 crores.

In the climax of the first part, the character called Katappa, who is actually loyal to the protagonist – Baahubali, reveals that it was he who killed Baahubali, naturally arousing a compelling sense of curiosity in viewers as to why he would do that. The curiosity that  made them look forward to the second part already without any need for aggressive marketing.

Consumers earnestly anticipated watching the second, since the moment they walked out of the cinema hall after watching the first. They were already upsold to, and 650 crores worth of success was a given anyway for the second part.

Marketing was not even needed even for the first part and even lesser so for the second.

But then, time is a huge leveler, you see. Would the curiosity stay intact for two years until they release the second part? What if it fades away as people take stock of themselves, overcome their curiosity and move on with better things to do in their day-to-day lives?

But then, something else happened between the first and the second and that would play a role in totally changing the game, contributing to such an extent of success that even the makers of the movie did not anticipate.

And that something was merely a simple little catch phrase:

Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?

power of catch phrase in marketingThis catch phrase went crazily viral, generating a heavy buzz with people speculating, coming up with theories, blog posts, memes, jokes, social media discussions, questions on Quora.

Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?

This catch phrase not only kept the curiosity alive for two years, but increased it manifold. The whole country wanted to know. This was a question that continued to nag them every once in a while even as they had moved on and got busy with their lives.

Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?

This catch phrase sure played a role in setting a new benchmark for box-office collection, that is 10x the previous benchmark of a 100 crore in a movie-crazed India. Below is a graphic representation of the difference.



₹1250+ crores was the film’s global collection at the end of two weeks.

At the end of week 3, now, it is the first Indian movie to do ₹1500+ crores

Even the mighty Khans of Bollywood, or Rajnikanth, the God of Tamil cinema or other powerful stars like Chiranjivi or Mahesh Babu of Telugu cinema would not have dreamed of pulling off a stunt as this one any time soon.

That is the power of a catch phrase !!

And while on it, it is not irrelevant to note a similar success owing largely to catch phrase marketing – that of the 2014 election in India – Abki baar Modi sarkaar, Achche din aane waale hai. These slogans helped win a large election. In fact, several elections are won on the basis of slogans.

I am not saying that the successes mentioned above were only due to the catch phrase. There were several other factors. I am merely saying that a catch phrase can go a long way in marketing success.

Provided the catch phrase is cleverly crafted after taking consumer psychology, brand USP, competitor marketing strategy and other factors into account.

Provided the catch phrase is really catchy.

And a really catchy catch phrase is something that is

  1. Original.
  2. Creative.
  3. Simple.
  4. Tested.

It connects with their feelings. The feelings connect back to the brand.

Once you have sorted out your simple, creative, original catch phrase, and tested it as well, stick with it and deploy it consistently on all your marketing collateral. Consistent exposure will reinforce it in the mind and subsequently the heart of the consumer. It is a cost-less permanent marketing tool, that will silently work its way through by itself, to keep customers hooked to your brand, giving you an edge over your competition in the years to come.  A zero investment with permanently recurring returns.

Don’t you recall the catch phrase and involuntarily hum it as soon as you hear a brand name? We are all guilty of doing that.

Here are some examples:


I’m lovin’ it.

Kit Kat

Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat.


Just Do It.


Think Different.


Save money.  Live better.


Connecting people.


There’re some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s MasterCard.


I am what I am.




The happiest place on the earth.


Finger lickin’ good.

De Beers

A Diamond is Forever.

This once again underscores the importance of the right words, the importance of the right content in advertising, marketing, sales and brand success.  Brands, cinema, politicians all have derived success from the power of words, more so from the power of fewer words. Small and medium businesses, startups and budding brands can do the same.

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