Coolest brands: Britain’s taste for luxury

Luxury names have surged back into the rankings of Britain’s coolest brands, dislodging more mundane products, the latest annual survey showed today.
Apple stayed top as everyday items slip down latest list of top brands. Picture: GettyApple stayed top as everyday items slip down latest list of top brands. Picture: Getty
Apple stayed top as everyday items slip down latest list of top brands. Picture: Getty

Aston Martin, whose classic model played a starring role in the latest James Bond film Skyfall, revved into second place, followed by London-founded Swiss watchmaker Rolex.

High-end fashion brands Chanel, Prada and Alexander McQueen strutted into the top 20, where luxury brands filled six places, compared to two last year.

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Apple retained the top spot, but “everyday” brands such as ice creams Häagan-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s, and Vogue magazine, dropped down the list.

Retailers also lost their cool, with Selfridges and Liberty both crashing out of the top 20, leaving none in the top group.

The CoolBrands list was judged on innovation, originality, style, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness.

The list was compiled by the Centre for Brand Analysis from votes by 3,000 consumers and a panel of 38 “key influencers”, including the musician Laura Mvula, Gizzi Erskine, presenter of Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin, and model Daisy Lowe.

Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands council, said:

“Overall, the top 20 saw a definite swing back to luxury brands as the affordable everyday brands slipped back.

“Whether it’s due to strong heritage, product quality or quite simply a correlation with the reviving British economy, this year’s CoolBrands list shows an increasing number of luxury brands are back at the top of the cool list, reversing last year’s trend of affordable everyday luxuries dominating.”

He said Prada’s return to the top 20 for the first time in six years might be thanks to positive publicity surrounding Malaika Firth, its new face for 2013 and the first black model to take the role since Naomi Campbell in 1995.

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Nike took fourth place, followed by Glastonbury and YouTube, while Google and Twitter both dropped from their place in last year’s top five to seventh and eighth places respectively.

BBC iPlayer also dropped from last year’s sixth position to 16, Skype fell out of the top 20 altogether, while music streaming service Spotify is the only new digital entry at 20.

Mr Cheliotis said: “While Apple remained number one this year, question marks remain as to how long they might hold this position in the face of an increasingly competitive set of rivals.

“Fashion brands came back to the fore, with sport and music brands becoming more conspicuous.”

Brand experts said the latest chart reflected the scale of public exposure which other “cool” brands lacked.

Charlie Robertson, Glasgow-based brand consultant at Red Spider, said: “A lot of this list is to do with fame – talked about profile.

“There are many products, services and genres doing much more interesting things than the usual global brand suspects, albeit challenged by lack of commercial scale to have a mainstream consumer profile on the six dimensions listed.”

Mr Robertson said the luxury brands bounce-back reflected consumers need for escapism.