Marketing Week Masters ‘Brand of the Year’ shortlist announced

We unveil the five brands that will fight it out to be named ‘Brand of the Year’ at the Marketing Week Masters awards in October.


Five brands have made it onto the shortlist for the Marketing Week Masters ‘Brand of the Year’, powered by YouGov.

From a longlist of 10 brands, compiled on the basis of several key measures tracked by YouGov’s BrandIndex, the judging panel has whittled down the contenders to the five standout performers below.

Our jury of senior marketers includes Meghan Farren, CMO of KFC UK & Ireland; easyJet CMO Lis Blair; Ali Jones, customer director at The Co-operative Group; Rachael Pettit, Uber’s head of marketing for the UK, Northern and Eastern Europe; and David Wheldon, CMO at RBS, among many others.

The overall winner will be announced at the Marketing Week Masters awards ceremony on

To view the whole shortlist and book tickets, go to the Marketing Week Masters website. 

The shortlist for ‘Brand of the Year’



At the beginning of 2018 Cadbury replaced its ‘Free the Joy’ strapline with ‘There’s a glass and a half in everyone’.

Dirk Van de Put, CEO of Cadbury’s owner Mondelēz, claims the repositioning “connected really well” with consumers, leading to a six-point increase in brand consideration and a mid-single digit rise in organic net sales in 2018.

Meanwhile, Cadbury’s agile innovation approach has helped it launch new products such as Cadbury Dark Milk, Freddo Little Treasures and Crispello. It has used these to branch out into more occasions, while also tackling consumers’ growing health concerns with the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk with 30% less sugar.

However, innovation hasn’t come at the cost of its core product offer, with Cadbury launching its first major campaign for Roses in 20 years to celebrate its 80th anniversary.

It seems this combined investment in both old and new is working. Data from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows Cadbury’s purchase intent has increased from 30.8 to 32.3 over the past 52 weeks.



When Greggs unveiled its vegan sausage roll at the start of year it made headline news thanks to a clever digital campaign.

Tapping into consumers’ growing appetite for ‘flexitarianism’ and timing the launch perfectly for ‘Veganuary’, Greggs teased Twitter with an Apple iPhone-inspired video, detailing the spec of the sausage roll, under the message “The wait is over… 3.1.19”. The playful post sparked a flurry of comments and was retweeted more than 6,000 times and liked by 35,000 Twitter users in less than 24 hours.

Greggs credited the fanfare around the launch with a 9.6% rise in sales for the seven weeks to 16 February.

The brand is particularly strong in its North East heartland where 80% give it a positive rating, according to to data from YouGov. But it is also nationally strong: it is the number one dining brand in eight of the 12 regions, and it never drops below third favourite, the data shows.

The brand has been transforming its product offer and stores in recent years to drive reappraisal, which seems to be working with earnings before interest and tax up 9.2% to £89.8m for 2018.



It might be 72 years old, but Ikea is a prime example of a brand with heritage that is firmly on the front foot and alert to changing consumer trends.

From a new solar panel-powered store in central London and the launch of a subscription model for office furniture in Switzerland, to a commitment to phase out all single-use plastics from its products and stores by 2020, Ikea is a business with sustainability at the top of its agenda and certainly putting its money where its mouth is.

The proof is in the numbers. UK revenue rose by 5.9% to £1.96bn in 2018, with online sales up 14.4% and website visits up 13.4% to just shy of 200 million.

It is Ikea’s forward-thinking approach and ability to stay ahead of the game that have helped it thrive in an increasingly competitive retail landscape.



Building society Nationwide raised the bar over the past year by taking a high profile stand against online abuse.

Unwilling to stay silent when the spoken word poets featured in its award winning ‘Voices’ campaign received racist, sexist, misogynistic and homophobic abuse online, Nationwide worked with ISBA, the Metropolitan Police and Stop Hate UK to create #ChallengeHate, a protocol for how brands should tackle hate speech on their social platforms.

Then in September it joined forces with Channel 4, Mars and McCain on #TogetherAgainstHate, an ad break takeover featuring three recent campaigns overlaid with real racist, homophobic, violent and discriminatory posts.

From a pure business perspective, Voices, developed in collaboration with creative agency VCCP, had a significant impact on Nationwide’s brand consideration, according to its research, which is currently at its highest level since tracking began. Now one in five bank accounts that are switched are switched to Nationwide. Its analysis shows Voices contributed to 28% of those switched accounts and returned £2.66 of member value for every £1 spent.



Over the past year Netflix has further cemented itself as one of the nation’s most loved brands.

The streaming giant bumped Lidl from the top two in YouGov’s annual BrandIndex buzz rankings ending a dominant run for the German discounters. Netflix only entered the top 10 in 2016 but jumped from third place in 2017, when it scored 14, to second in 2018 with a score of 16.4.

The success was attributed to subscription growth – it now has more than 139 million subscribers globally – as well as the success of its original films and TV series, including Bird Box and Roma (which was nominated for 10 Oscars).

During the fourth quarter the company added 1.5 million new subscribers in the U.S. and 7.3 million new subscribers internationally. Overall, it added 29 million paid subscribers during 2018, up 33% from the 22 million it welcomed in 2017.

And it’s not ready to slow down just yet. Netflix is rumoured to be launching its own print magazine for key industry players as it looks to market its programmes and films in more varied ways.



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