Burger bars burst Coke's bubble

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The Independent Online
The golden arches of fast-food giant McDonald's have displaced the swirling Coca-Cola logo as the world's top brand, according to a new book published today.

Interbrand, the branding consultancy that compiled The World's Greatest Brands, also says that computer company IBM (11th out of 100) has lost ground to Microsoft (9th) and that Disney, the entertainment group, has leapt into third position. It adds that cereal maker Kelloggs (16th) and American Express (20th) have lost strength in recent years - "perhaps as a result of aggressive brand building by their competitors". Coca-Cola's traditional rival, Pepsi, is 17th.

The book - which includes 15 sector league tables as well as an overall top 100 - evaluates more than 350 household names according to four criteria: weight, or dominance in the market; length, or extension into other markets; breadth, or appeal across age, religion, gender and nationality; and depth, or customer commitment.

McDonald's only scored a few more points than Coca-Cola, but was felt to be stronger in weight, depth and length, while the soft drinks company fared better in breadth.

Tom Blackett, Interbrand's deputy chairman, said that the fast-food company had become the quintessential international brand. "The logos, interiors, concentration on families and classless appeal comprise a branding formula which is powerful across all national borders. Its success has not relied on huge advertising spend alone. It has developed a living, three-dimensional personality."

The Interbrand team points out that there have been so many changes since it last reviewed the market six years ago that even the more powerful brands - which also include such companies as Kodak, Mercedes Benz, Sony and Nike - have not been unscathed. But their enduring success is "a sign of the underlying quality they possess".

Other notables in the list include Heinz (30th), Harrods (41st), Time magazine (46th), the BBC (50th) and Virgin (91st).