Offer to buy the world a Coke and you’ll probably find plenty of takers. But try to sell the iconic American drink, and you might meet with some ambivalence among youths these days, particularly abroad. That’s according to a recent study that compared big global brands it considered “teen relevant,” gathering feedback from thousands of youths in 13 countries – including the United States.
Coca-Cola still topped the chart in terms of name recognition, followed by McDonald’s. But Coke fell to eighth place when it came to likeability, and the burger chain dropped all the way to No. 32. Disney and America Online also nose-dived in appeal.
The top three affinity slots went to Sony (Japan), Nokia (Finland), and Adidas (Germany). Top US finisher: Nike at No. 4, a somewhat surprising result given that US firms have traditionally wielded a collective hegemony with this very desirable demographic.
The study suggests that control is slipping from brands that try to impose images on teens rather than reflecting teens’ perceptions of themselves. Smart brands win teen market share by allowing teens to be part of a brand “story,” experts say.