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2009 Sunday Times Top Brands winners

There were various surprises at the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards for 2009, last night, Thursday, 20 August 2009, at Lexus Fourways, Johannesburg, which this year included categories for social and digital networks and new brand categories such as sunglasses, watches and fashion.
Over and above aligning the research with the latest brand thinking, more “exotic and modern” categories were also included for this year's award.

“Religious groupings dominated social networks while Facebook was announced as the winning digital network followed by MXit and My Space,” explains Neil Higgs, director for innovation and development at TNS Research Surveys, which was commissioned by Avusa Media to conduct the research.

“Sports clothing was easily won by Nike while Levi's comfortably took the top spot for general clothing category. Rayban came in first place for sunglasses followed by Police and Dolce and Gabbana. Michel Herbelin was the consumer's favourite watch brand.”

Shifts in winners

Shifts in winners included FNB edging out last year's winner, Absa, to claim the top spot for retail banks in the business-to-consumer category and smaller air carrier British Airways ousting South African Airways to claim first place for airlines in the business-to-business category.

Other surprises on the night saw the smaller Apple Mac computer brand leap from seventh position to second place in the business-to-business category, showing that brand size doesn't mean the brand is necessarily better, and contesting HP, the category winner.

“Smaller brands holding their own amongst the more heavyweight contenders this year is a result of us commissioning TNS Research Surveys to provide a new and innovative research model that would let loved brands whether big or small stand out,” said Enver Groenewald, Avusa Media GM: advertising revenue and strategic communications.

“The results also indicate that smaller competitors that decided not to cut their marketing and advertising budgets during these tough economic times have reaped the rewards and might be gaining some market share.”

Grand Prix

For the Grand Prix categories of consumers top brands, Pick n Pay stole the show by winning two out of the four awards despite Coca-Cola once again winning overall favourite brand, followed by Vodacom and then Koo and Nike tied in third position. The leading South African supermarket jumped four spots from fifth position to first place for the company doing the most to uplift the community and claimed first prize as the company doing the most to promote environmentally-friendly behaviour.

The only award that might not have been that unexpected was the announcement that Nelson Mandela was named the favourite South African personality for both consumers and business people. Consumers chose political rivals as the next favourite SA personalities after Mandela, with Jacob Zuma as the second most popular person, followed by Helen Zille in third position.

“This is possibly an indication of how important this year's elections were for the South African public,” points out Groenewald.


To get the results for the awards a combination of face-to-face and telephonic interviews were conducted with 3500 adults and 400 business people to make up 3900 in total.

To create the results for the 2009 Top Brands Awards, individuals were asked to say which brands they used regularly and then to rate all the brands they knew on a points-out-of-ten basis. From this, TNS Research Surveys looked at how big a brand was in terms of users. Then it calculated a new measure - informally termed ‘Brand Clout' - that looked at how much better a brand was rated than average amongst its users and then amongst its non-users.

This told TNS Research Sureys if a brand's users were much happier than the users of other brands, and if a brand was more aspirational amongst its non-users than average. By combining these measures, they allowed not only big brands to shine but also smaller brands that are much loved or desired.

Grand Prix categories

Consumer Top Brands 1st 2nd 3rd
1Overall favourite brand Coca-Cola Vodacom Koo/ Nike
2Company doing the most to uplift community Pick n Pay Coca-Cola Vodacom
3Company that has done the most to promote "Green" Pick n Pay Woolworths Nedbank
4South African personality Nelson Mandela Jacob Zuma Helen Zille

Business-to-consumer national

1st 2nd 3rd
5Alcoholic spirits Jack Daniels Johnnie Walker Jameson
6Alcoholic Coolers Red Square Smirnoff Brutal Fruit
7Beers Carling Black Label Hansa Heineken
8Ciders Savanna Hunters Redds
9Chocolates Cadbury Slabs Lunch Bar Bar One
10Cellphones Nokia Samsung Sony Ericsson
11Convenience & Grocery store Shoprite Pick n Pay / Pick n Pay HypermarketSpar/ KwikSpar/Super Spar
12Weekly newspapers Sunday Times City Press Sunday Sun
13Daily newspapers Daily Sun Sowetan The Star
14Retail Banks FNB ABSA Standard Bank
15Soft Drinks Coca Cola Fanta Sprite
16Fruit based drinks Liquifruit Tropika Clover Fruit Juice
17Telecommunication Providers Vodacom MTN Cell C
18Fast FoodKFCNando'sSteers

Business to Consumer metropolitan consumer

19Domestic Airline SAA British Airways Mango
20Cars Mercedes Benz Toyota BMW
21Sports Clothing brands Nike Adidas Puma
22Fashion Clothing Brand Levi's Daniel Hechter La Coste
23Energy and Sports drinks Red Bull Energade Powerade
24Long term Insurer Old Mutual Metropolitan Life Hollard
25Short term Insurer Outsurance AA Insurance Hollard
26Loyalty/Reward programmes Ster Kinekor Clicks Club MySchool
27Petrol stations BP Engen Shell
28Digital Networks Facebook Mxit MySpace
29Sunglasses Rayban Police D&G
30Watches Michel Herbelin Rolex Guess


xB-2-B Top Brands: Category 1st2nd 3rd
31Personality Nelson Mandela Jacob Zuma Charlize Theron
32Banks (including corporate and merchant banking)Standard Bank FNB ABSA
33Cellphones owned Nokia Blackberry Samsung
34Domestic Airlines British AirwaysKulula SAA
35Computer and laptop brands HP Apple Mac Dell
36Car Hire Avis Budget Europcar
37Short Term Insurance companies Santam Mutual and Federal Zurich
38Long Term Insurance companies Discovery Life Liberty Old Mutual
39Medial AidsDiscovery Health Momentum Fedhealth
40Business Media - Electronic (Radio and TV) DSTV Talk Radio 702RSG
41Business Media - Print (Newspapers and Magazines)Business Day Financial Mail Business Times
42HotelsSun International Hotels and ResortsHiltonSouthern Sun

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