The Brand Popularity Contest: who won in 2010?

Bloomberg’s Businessweek announced the findings this week of their giant annual survey into brand popularity. Now presented online at and in the current double issue on news-stands, is the a-z of brand categories and who won Miss/Mr Popularity in 2010.

To explain their rationale behind this, a quote from their front page:

“Even in our present era of 10,000 niches, mass customization, and the “long tail”—of companies selling fewer items from a far vaster inventory—we are, arguably, governed more than ever by what’s popular. Thanks to the Internet’s ability to rank everything, one can dwell almost exclusively in the world of trending Twitter topics, of top-reviewed restaurants, of bestselling books, of the cutest cute-cat YouTube videos. News sites all feature tallies of the Most Read, Most E-mailed, and Most Commented On articles—creating a self- reinforcing conversation.

Is all this popularity data enriching us, or does it obscure new paths of discovery? Are crowds wise, or do they follow the pack and middle-of-the-road? A deep dive into what’s totally beast, right now—not just the bestselling, but the fastest-selling; not merely the market leaders, but the ones gaining the most market share—proves that while there’s no accounting for taste, the data can be helpful and even inspiring. It highlights huge, wealth-creating opportunities as well as under-appreciated ways that cash flows to the sublime.”

Every entry in the list represents either a market leader or “the person, product, or trend that experienced the greatest commercial growth or surge in popularity during 2010.” Some figures are literal (e.g. Nordstrom’s revenue, $9.7 billion), and others symbolic (the rpms of the top-selling turntable, 33⅓).

Anyhoo, for me it made for fascinating reading. Some not wholly surprising – those we could have predicted include Kate Middleton as top choice for magazine front covers and Harry Potter for top move franchise. And I was particularly amused by the inclusion of ‘Car (stolen)’ as a category (the Honda Accord, if you were wondering). Remember this is only representative of the US market, but still a curious list.

So for your delight (and with thanks to Brand Channel this morning), a selection of the list:

• Actress: Sandra Bullock

• Athlete (Female): Serena Williams

• Athlete (Male): Peyton Manning

• Beverage (Beer): Bud Light

• Beverage (Soda): Coca-Cola

• Beverage (Sports): Gatorade

• Cable TV Show: MTV’s Jersey Shore

• Car (Electric): Nissan Leaf

• Car (Stolen): Honda Accord

• Cereal: Honey Nut Cheerios

• Chocolate: M&Ms

• Cigarette: Marlboro

• Coffee: Nescafe

• Credit Card: Visa

• Department Store: Nordstrom

• Diet: Gluten-Free

• E-Reader: Kindle

• Game System: Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect

• Gum: Orbit

• Jeans: Levi’s 501

• Magazine Cover Subject: Kate Middleton

• Model (highest paid): Giselle

• Movie Franchise: Universal’s Harry Potter

• Museum Exhibit: Alexander McQueen at the Met

• Music (album sales): Adele

• Newspaper: The Wall Street Journal

• Philanthropists: Bill & Melinda Gates

• Razor (Female): Gillette Venus

• Snack (Cookie): Oreo

• Sport: NBA



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