Capitalism: Selling stuff to you since the 1300s.

That’s not a particularly memorable slogan — but a recent study tried to quantify what makes an advertising slogan good.

As researchers led by Mayukh Dass of Texas Tech University explained in “A study of the antecedents of slogan liking” in the Journal of Business Research:

Firms often spend millions of dollars in slogan development and promotion … Yet, while some, such as DeBeers’ 1938 slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” or Allstate Insurance Company’s 1956 slogan, “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate,” endure the test of time, others, such as Dodge’s 1954 slogan, “Elegance in Action,” or Pepsi’s, “Any Weather is Pepsi Weather,” do not. Such wide variation in their effectiveness or longevity raises questions about what makes customers like some slogans and not others.

After settling on a list of 150 familiar slogans, the team asked 595 people their opinions about them and collected demographic data.

Some of the results:

MOST LIKED

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” (M&M)

“The few, the proud, the Marines”

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

“The happiest place on the earth” (Disney)

“Easy breezy beautiful” Covergirl

“Eat fresh” (Subway)

“Red Bull gives you wings”

“Think outside the bun” (Taco Bell)

“Got milk?” (California Milk Processor Board, originally)

“Get in the Zone” (AutoZone)

MOST RECALLED

“Just do it!” (Nike)

“I’m lovin’ it” (McDonald’s)

“Have it your way” (Burger King)

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”

“Got milk?”

“Eat fresh”

“Mmm mmm good!” (Campbell Soup)

“You’re in good hands with Allstate”

“Think outside the bun”

“The ultimate driving machine” (BMW)

 

But Dass et. al. didn’t stop there — they generated a “bilinear mixed model of slogan liking.”

The Morning Mix’s limited computing power prevents the entire formula from being replicated here. However, it includes variables for message clarity, creativity, brand appropriateness, product appropriateness, gender, age, income and whether a jingle or a rhyme is present.

Other findings: Women liked slogans more than men, younger respondents liked them more than older respondents, and richer people liked them more than poorer people.

The study’s somewhat obvious conclusion: “Slogans should be carefully crafted keeping the strategic objective for the brand in mind.”

In other words, advertisers: If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.