NEW YORK (MainStreet) — "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand" is the most well-liked slogan in the nation, and Nike's "Just do it" is the most remembered. That's just a couple of tidbits researchers found when they set out find the most recalled and most well-liked slogans in America.

Researchers also found just because something is memorable, doesn't mean it's a consumer favorite. Only four of the top ten most recalled slogans –"Got milk? "Eat fresh" "Think outside the bun" and "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands" — were among the top ten most liked.

For the first phase of research, a pool of 220 people was used to determine 150 of the most recognizable slogans in the market. In the second phase, researchers used a pool of 595 people to rate the likeability of those slogans. These two phases created the two top ten lists, as follows:

Most Liked

  • 1. Melts in your mouth, not in your hand (M&Ms)
  • 2. The few, the proud, the marines (United States Marine Corps)
  • 3. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas (Las Vegas tourism agency)
  • 4. The happiest place on the Earth (Disneyland)
  • 5. Easy breezy beautiful Cover Girl (Cover Girl)
  • 6. Eat fresh (Subway)
  • 7. Red Bull gives you wings (Red Bull)
  • 8. Think outside the bun (Taco Bell)
  • 9. Got milk? (Milk Processor Education Program)
  • 10. Get in the Zone (AutoZone)

Most Recalled

  • 1. Just do it (Nike)
  • 2. I'm lovin' it (McDonald's)
  • 3. Have it your way (Burger King)
  • 4. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands (M&Ms)
  • 5. Got milk? (Milk Processor Education Program)
  • 6. Eat fresh (Subway)
  • 7. Mmmm-mmm good! (Campbell Soup Company)
  • 8. You're in good hands with Allstate (Allstate)
  • 9. Think outside the bun (Taco Bell)
  • 10. The ultimate driving machine (BMW)

Other interesting tidbits from the study:

  • Women liked slogans more than men
  • Younger respondents liked slogans more than older respondents
  • Richer people liked slogans more
  • Slogans with jingles didn't have any higher likeability, but those with rhymes did
  • The average top ten most recalled slogans had 3.9 words, and the average word count of the liked slogans was 4.9 words; however, length had no bearable evidence on likability.
  • Recall may be more useful for impulse buying
  • Markets that require more deliberation from customers may find likeability more useful than recall in their slogans
  • Slogans with a clear brand message that also showed the product's benefit gained more likeability

There was no supporting evidence that having an older slogan created a more likeable one. As the research notes, some large brands change their slogans over time, perhaps in order "to suit their brands' evolving needs" and because they have the means to do so.

Indeed, some of these top ten slogans have been around forever, while a few others have been or are in the middle of being replaced. Last month, Burger King announced it would morph its 40-year-old "Have it your way" slogan (which was third most recalled but didn't make the top ten most liked), into "Be your way." Taco Bell's "Think outside the bun," which was the eighth favorite and ninth most recalled slogan, was replaced by the "Live Más" slogan in 2012. And earlier this year, the Milk Processor Education Program dropped its "Got milk?" slogan, which ranked fifth most recalled and ninth most liked, changing it to "Milk life."

The research, titled "A Study of the Antecedents of Slogan Liking," will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Business Research. It was conducted by Mayukh Dass, of Texas Tech University; Piyush Kumar of the University of Georgia; and Sunil Thomas and Chiranjeev Kohli, both of California State University, Fullerton.

--Written by Craig Donofrio for MainStreet