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Brand Wars

Which company branding has stood the test of time?

Britain’s favourite logo is Coca-Cola’s, according to a new poll. The iconic red and white symbol was first revealed in the late 1800s and has remained largely unchanged ever since. It’s so popular the logo can commonly be found on fashionable clothing items, homeware and other desirables – while vintage items featuring the logo can sell for thousands of pounds. Second spot was secured by US fast-food chain, McDonald’s – ahead of Disney’s Mickey Mouse silhouette logo in third and Cadbury’s logo in fourth.

Commissioned by label makers, Avery UK, the research of 2,000 UK adults found 62 per cent consider logos such as those belonging to Hard Rock Café and Ferrari to be ‘works of art’.

Fiona Mills, marketing director for Avery UK said: “Last year Avery conducted one of its biggest research projects to date, looking at branding and label design for both products and packaging and the effect these have on small businesses success. The results clearly showed what a huge impact design and branding have in terms of persuasiveness, consumer trust and perception. When the highest-performing label design elements combine, such as handwritten fonts, bold colours and shapes, emotion and use of heuristics (the brain’s mental decision-making shortcuts), the results can be extremely powerful. There are many historic examples of this, which led us to dedicate this next phase of our study to iconic, memorable branding from the last few decades. We’ve also discovered more lessons small businesses can learn from big brands and will continue to share this insight with our consumers.”

Other logos in the top 10 include the emblems for Nike, Guinness and LEGO – along with those for Michelin and PG Tips. Nostalgia appears to play a part with long established logos such as Fisher-Price, Oxo, Wall’s and Colman’s all featuring in the top 40. However relative newcomers such as Amazon, Google, Virgin and Starbucks made the list too.

The Avery study found a brand’s logo is so important it’s the first thing we notice about a product – ahead of its name and even its colour. Logos are also a key part of what makes a brand memorable – 46 per cent said they are the most enduring aspect.

A fifth are so loyal to particular brands they will specifically purchase branded products over non-branded counterparts – despite them often costing more. But 33 per cent will only buy from brands they are familiar with. And for 53 per cent, familiarity makes them trust a brand more.

The poll also looked at the brands we find most memorable from different decades – from the sixties through to the noughties. It emerged the eighties is the most popular era when it comes to logos, packaging and branding. However, it’s not all about nostalgia, nearly half of the population (47%) think products and their packaging look better now than they ever have done before.

Branding belonging to Maxwell House, Nestle Milkybar and Kodak were found to be the most enduring of those from the sixties. Old Spice, Fairy washing-up liquid and Wimpy were identified as the most recognisable from the seventies. The most memorable branding examples from the eighties are Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nesquik according to those polled.

And similarly, the most unforgettable brands from the nineties belong to Adidas, Lynx and The Bodyshop – while Costa, Dove and Red Bull are the ones most associated with the noughties.

Fiona Mills at Avery UK added: “We had so much fun looking back at product packaging from the different decades. What was interesting was just how many of the nation’s most iconic, recognisable brands all featured label designs that fit with our scientific research findings, further backing up our study’s conclusions. Clear and simple labels performed best in our study and that can be said for many of these well-known brands. In our original study, a behavioural scientist highlighted the important part that imagery and font have to play when creating strong, persuasive labels for products or packages. When you look at the brands who are most remembered from the decades these findings really apply, it is easy to picture many of their labels clearly in your mind. The results of this study don’t just apply to big business, there are many useful lessons for smaller organisations. Small businesses can learn a lot from looking at the expertise of bigger brands as well as downloading the free Avery report for some scientific insight into branding.”

You can find out more about the Avery research and see how this can help your business at


  1. Coca-Cola
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Mickey Mouse (Disney)
  4. Cadbury
  5. Apple
  6. Nike
  7. Guinness
  8. LEGO
  9. Michelin
  10. PG Tips
  11. Oxo
  12. Mercedes-Benz
  13. Google
  14. Levi’s
  15. Adidas
  16. Pepsi
  17. British Airways
  18. Volkswagen
  19. Shell
  20. Amazon
  21. Wall’s (ice cream)
  22. Goodyear
  23. Toblerone
  24. Colman’s (mustard)
  25. Virgin
  26. AA
  27. BMW
  28. Pringles
  29. Walkers Crisps
  30. Fisher-Price
  31. Kodak
  32. Land Rover
  33. M&S
  34. Ford
  35. Starbucks
  36. Burger King
  37. Tesco
  38. Hoover
  39. IKEA
  40. Argos

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