Brands often wish to be seen as modern and up-to-date, so they can stay relevant in a fast-moving world. As a result, some might wish to dispense with any elements that recall a bygone age. But a new survey has revealed that having a rich history can actually be a great asset when it comes to winning the public’s affection.

Research commissioned by London-based advertising agency isobel, carried out in association with OnePoll, saw 1,500 over-18s in the UK asked what brands they love the most. Each respondent based their answer on various pre-set criteria, such as which brands they would miss if they suddenly became unavailable, which ones they rely on the most and the brands they feel a strong loyalty towards.

Amazon was named as the most-loved brand, securing 48 per cent of the votes. But interestingly, the rest of the top five was made up of names that have been ever-presents in our lives for decades. Chocolate brand Cadbury came second in the poll, while Walkers and Heinz came third and fourth respectively. This was closely followed in the rankings by BBC1. Google made it into sixth place, while the rest of the top ten consisted of Kellogg’s, Boots, Tesco and ITV.

According to Paul Houlding, managing partner of isobel, the findings suggest that longevity can work wonders for a brand if it is to command the affection of consumers. “All bar two of the top ten predate the 1960s with top honours going to Cadbury (1824),” he observed. “Affection, it seems, has been hard won.” However, Mr Houlding insisted that affection is not the only requirement a brand needs in order to be loved by the public. Indeed, he said they also need to be useful to members of the public and actually help to make people’s lives easier. Furthermore, he said brands we feel affection for must also be capable of delivering on what they promise. “The question is, can they keep it up? 170 years from now will they have been as resilient as Cadbury?” Mr Houlding asked.

Other strong performers in the survey included eBay, Asda and M&S, along with PG Tips and Facebook, Colgate, Coca-Cola, Aldi, BBC2 and Fairy. One interesting finding, given that a general election is just around the corner, is the fact that our established political parties did not fare well at all. In fact, they ranked among some of the most-hated brands in Britain – proof perhaps that longevity is just one of many attributes a brand needs in order to win people’s affection.

Thirty per cent of respondents named the UK Independence Party as the brand they hate the most, while the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats followed close behind. Mr Houlding said this is unlikely to be a surprise to people, particularly the politicians that make up these parties. But with a general election taking place in just a matter of months, it will be interesting to see what marketing techniques they adopt to win the hearts and minds of voters.


Posted by Robin McCrink