Magazine article Marketing

Biggest Brands

Magazine article Marketing

Biggest Brands

Article excerpt

How did the UK's too brands tare in the past year? reports on data from ACNielsen

The annual Biggest Brands survey, compiled exclusively for Marketing by AGNielsen, shows there is little sign of a brand backlash when it comes to groceries. In fact, consumers are as happy as ever to put big-name products in their shopping baskets.

The data in these tables provides an insight into the state of consumerism today. As the most comprehensive overview of grocery brands for the year, it also allows us to track which brands are outperforming their rivals and which are dropping away.

As usual we are presenting the top 50 British brands for the year to April 2001, as well as looking at the top 20 fastest-growing brands and more than 20 individual sectors.

We have included a top ten of new brands to watch. These are products launched during the past year that do not yet have a full year's data with which to enter the main tables, but which will look to make a splash in the coming year.

There is usually little change from year to year in the top 50. Several brands gradually slide down the table after falling victim to the own-label offensive or failing to invest properly in marketing, while others shoot up on a gust of marketing support.

And then there are the stalwarts, the brands that hold on to prime positions in the top 50 year in, year out. Table leader Coca-Cola is one such example.

The soft drinks giant has ridden out a few tough years at the top of the Biggest Brands table, having experienced a contamination scandal in Belgium and senior management changes. Last year's 10% growth would be hard to beat for such a well established brand, and while Coke hasn't managed to top that performance, its 5% growth this year is still commendable.

The past year saw Coke put its 'Think local, act local' marketing strategy into action, with UK-only work led by UK marketing director Charlotte Oades, who joined in July 2000.

Kicking off a range of UK initiatives was an exclusive tie-up between Diet Coke and hit movie Bridget Jones' Diary, followed by a second wave of Coke online auction activity, which saw the brand join forces with The Sun to offer CDs, pop memorabilia and 'dream music experiences', such as the chance to meet pop stars.

April saw Coke unveil its first local ads in a [pound]30m campaign. While the work, created by McCann-Erickson's UK office, introduced Coke's global 'Life tastes good' strapline, it featured typically British scenes, such as a young man drinking Coke on a packed Tube escalator.

Tipped to be angling for a move into the snacks market, Coke entered a joint venture with Procter & Gamble in February. If any Coke-branded snacks materialise from the venture, they would put Coke in direct competition with PepsiCo's Walkers, number two in the top 50.

Walkers had a good 12 months, with a 3.7% rise but, like Coke, could not match its efforts of the previous year, when it saw sales increase 6.5%. Its sustained strong performance came on the back of a year of NPD, promotions such as 'Free Books for Schools' and long-running ad campaigns, especially those starring celebrities.

In December, ad spokesman Gary Lineker signed a five-year extension to his contract. Under the [pound]1.5m deal, he will make at least five ads a year.

Also fond of using stars in its ads, Nescafe held on to the number three position this year. But the strategy has not proved so fruitful for the coffee brand, which is now trying to appeal to a younger audience.

Despite its [pounds]14.2m adspend, its sales slumped 6.7% last year --although this may point more to a fall-away in the nation's consumption of hot drinks (down 5.3%) than the brand's individual strategy.

While hot drinks have lost favour with consumers, beer is booming, and number four brand Stella Artois is snapping at Nescafe's heels after raising its sales by a storming 21. …

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