Posted March 28, 2012 9:15 am by with 0 comments

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It’s tough enough to make it to the top of your field, but staying there for eight years in a row is near impossible. Still, fifteen brands managed to do just that.

The numbers come from the 23rd Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend Study. They surveyed nearly 40,000 US consumers and asked them to rank a random collection of forty brands and the cream rose to the top.

Every brand on this list is immediately recognizable. Each evokes a feeling of stability, of excellence. They also mean more than just the product they represent.

Hallmark makes cards and Christmas ornaments. But the brand brings to mind visions of loving families, heart-felt gifting and a lifetime of memories.

Gatorade is a drink. But it’s also a symbol of athleticism. Of pushing yourself to be the very best you can be.

It’s interesting to note that some of the top brands go way back. Did you know that Life Savers go back to the turn of the century. The 1932 Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers features a scene where a girl falls in a lake and asks Groucho to throw her a life saver. She wants a rubber tube but he throws her a candy, instead. That scene is often referred to as one of the earliest examples of product placement in a movie.

Then there’s HBO, Sony Electronics and Visa, all of whom are newbies by comparison.

While these brands defend their territory, several new category leaders are coming on strong. Apple, Google, Kindle, even Chobani Greek Yogurt are carving out their own niche.

Harris also paid homage to those brands that have gained the most momentum over the past year. These include Yamaha, Glaceau Vitaminwater and Physician’s Formula Cosmetics. So, motorcycles, healthy water and make-up. Interesting.

Then we have the brands that are caught in a downward spiral. Groupon and its cousin Living Social both took hard hits. Folks also lost confidence in Goodyear Tires, Carnival Cruise Lines and Fannie Mae. The hardest hit was former technology darling, BlackBerry.

Finally, a little shout out to my media pals. CBS took top honors for a broadcast network. History Channel came in first for topical programming and A&E got top for variety programing.

You can see the results for all 127 categories on the Harris Interactive website.