THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Most Talked-About International Brands

campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM

1. THE QUEEN

The monarchy has had a hectic 2002, with the Queen inevitably taking pole position as one of the most talked-about people of the year as she celebrated 50 years on the throne. International interest has also been high following the deaths of the Queen Mother, just before the celebrations kicked off, and Princess Margaret, just afterwards.

2. AMERICA

The US has certainly had a year of it, as some of the following entries show. The appointment of the advertising veteran Charlotte Beers to improve the image of the country in the eyes of the rest of the world shows how seriously President Bush takes the issue of promoting those famous brand values. However, critics have accused Beers of relying too much on the power of image and not enough on the very policies which have angered some cultures and countries.

3. AL JAZEERA

The Arab television station that broadcast Osama Bin Laden's riposte to the West after 11 September and the first air strikes on Afghanistan. Named after the Qatar peninsula, the station started in 1996 and has seen its brand equity soar following the attacks. Somewhat bizarrely, plans for branded clothes and a women's toiletry brand are now underfoot.

4. THE OSBOURNES

Once famous for biting the head off bats and donning dubious amounts of eye make-up, the former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne and his family are now trailed by millions of viewers obsessed with their eccentric lives. Channel 4 paid £100,000 per episode to air the show this autumn.

5. GROUND ZERO

The Americans don't miss a trick - this year saw the emergence of Ground Zero as a major tourist attraction in New York, complete with viewing platforms and souvenir stands.

6. NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT

This was the year during which small children all over the world decided that being a firefighter was the coolest career ever. The NYFD's brand image also benefited from a fly-on-the-wall documentary, filmed by the French brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and plans for a 12-foot marble statue of a firefighter to stand on the site of the World Trade Centre are under way.

7. MCDONALD'S

The world's largest fast-food company hit the headlines several times this year and faced court action from a coalition of US consumers who claimed the company, along with others in the fast-food industry, was responsible for their obesity.

8. ENRON AND WORLDCOM

If we Brits specialise in criminal individuals such as Jeffrey Archer, the US has reeled in the wake of several high-profile accounting scandals which have scuppered these two seemingly unshakeable companies, not just because of the business implications but also the moral and cultural ones for US society. Still, these companies' troubles were Playboy's triumphs - flushed with the success of its Women of Enron feature, the magazine is planning another one. It's going to be called, er, Women of Worldcom.

9. WORLD CUP

The biggest marketing story of the year focused on the football tournament, which was held in South Korea and Japan. It was widely seen as this year's best opportunity to reach that elusive target audience of affluent young men all over the world.

10. ELVIS

This year celebrated the 25th anniversary of Elvis' death, and saw a resurge in popularity for the King. He had a number-one hit, thanks to a JXL remix, and starred in an ad during the World Cup.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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