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Research: Teens Name Coke, McD's As Faves In New Study


Kenneth Hein and Eric Newman

April 7, 2008


Old school brands still rule among teens, according to a new survey from virtual online community Habbo.

From Coca-Cola to CoverGirl, many of the favorite brands of today are the same as yesterday.

More than 7,700 U.S. teenagers (ages 11-18) were asked to reveal their favorite brands in an online poll conducted last October and November. The study was organized among teens participating in Habbo.

Other veteran brands, like McDonald's, Nike, MTV and Seventeen, also were tops. "These preferences definitely show that investing in brands still matters," said Anastasia Goodstein, founder of, San Francisco. "Does this mean teens aren't spending lots of time with other lesser-known brands, especially when it comes to media and technology? No. It just means that these brands have succeeded in branding by being the ones teens think of first and foremost when asked."

The pervasiveness of these brands helps place them top of mind, according to experts. "When you consider Nike's market share, at 40%, versus a player like Converse at 3% to 4%, it stands to reason why their presence among teens would be so high," said John Shanley, a senior analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, New York.

Still, the fact that Nike has taken a page out of Vans' book, "with substantial quantities of lifestyle footwear in their product lineups," has helped Nike stay on top, Shanley said. Vans placed second in the poll.

McDonald's also benefits from its size, said Richard Adams, president of Franchise Equity Group, San Diego. "It's about convenience."

Even though Burger King's ads may resonate with teens, "if they aren't available, there is a McDonald's on every street corner," said Adams. "That kind of dominance gives a lot of presence in the marketplace." Analysts have also pointed to the Snack Wrap and other new items as being spot on with the wants of the younger consumer. BK was No. 2.

For Coke this could be a sign of good things to come, said Bill Sipper, senior partner at Cascadia Consulting, a food and beverage consultancy based in Ramsey, N.J. "Teens are into energy drinks, sports drinks and water, but lets face it, people are drinking billions of liters of Coke. Maybe this is a good opportunity for them to reconnect with this consumer."

Some new brands also made the cut. Hollister secured the top spot in the clothing category. "It is no secret it is a more accessible version of Abercrombie & Fitch," said Marshal Cohen, analyst for the NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. "Hollister is the new Americana for the young and 'wannabe' young."

Hollister sales increased 11% to $531 million for the most recent quarter, per its parent company, Abercrombie, which placed No. 2. Hollister is expected to open 67 new stores for 2008.

Instant messaging and e-mail tied as the top forms of Internet usage. Listening to music and gaming were teens' favorite pastimes and rap/hip hop was their favorite music genre.

Casual gaming has spread in popularity with Runescape tapped as the favorite game. Addicting Games ranking only behind MySpace and YouTube as the most popular Web site.

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