British Airways surges to the top of UK consumer chart

02 Mar 2015


British retail stalwarts Marks & Spencer, Cadbury and Heinz have seen their reputation among consumers slide as firms including British Airways, Microsoft and Nike have succeeded in winning public affection, a new survey suggests.

British Airways was named the UK's top consumer brand in the annual Consumer Superbrands survey, while luxury watch brand Rolex was at number two, followed by the venerable broadcaster BBC at number three. Microsoft and Nike completed the top five.

BA has had a busy year, which has seen the brand rise to the top of the league for the second time since the superbrands survey was launched 20 years ago.

In the past year, BA has trialled hi-tech 'happiness blankets', which monitor brain waves and change colour based on the passenger's mood and is designed to help travellers sleep better.

It has also announced a pioneering partnership with sustainable fuels brand Solena Fuels and recently won a Cannes Lion award for its innovative outdoor campaign using real-time digital billboards.

Younger brands such as social media giants Facebook and Twitter are still absent from the top 20, making few inroads in the overall rankings, the survey's authors said.

Equally, tech giant Google continued its slide, falling from seventh to 18th place. This represents Google's third consecutive fall and its biggest to date, as British consumers remain wary about billion-dollar tech giants.

The list was drawn up after polling 2,500 British adults, who were asked to rank their favourites from a choice of 1,500 popular brands.

Marks & Spencer fell out of the top 20 for the first time since 2009, although rival John Lewis entered the top 20 for the first time in three years, taking sixth place.

John Lewis has repeatedly been praised for its good customer service and spends millions of pounds on advertising each year. Its 2014 Christmas advert, featuring Monty the penguin, cost £7 million to make and schedule.

Apple climbed back, up four places from 14th to 10th, aided by the success of the iPhone 6 and talk of the Apple Watch, which is set to be unveiled in March.

Low-cost household names including Andrex, Coca-Cola and Kellogg's have also remained favourites, bringing up nostalgic memories for British consumers. Kellogg's came in at number 9 in the survey 

Lego showed that despite the advent of high-tech, basic building bricks have still not lost their charms for youngsters, at least in the UK. Lego re-entered the Top 20 after a one-year absence, benefitting from the release of The Lego Movie.

Meanwhile Cadbury fell out of the top 20 after a trying year for the brand; its creme egg recipe change was unpopular with British consumers.

Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brands Analysis and chairman of the Superbrands Council, said, ''Younger brands, such as the social media giants, are sitting on the sidelines making little impact as a huge battle takes place among trusted, traditional brands seeking to remain relevant and retain their positions among the brand elite.

''British Airways retaining number one spot is a great example of a much-loved traditional brand that has also refreshed, re-focussed on innovation and invested to remain attractive and relevant.''

In a separate business Superbrands survey, which asked 2,000 business professionals to name their top brands, British Airways again came out on top, followed by Apple at number two and Virgin Atlantic at number three.

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