By Andy Bannister
Marketeers would have us believe that brand image is everything, and if so they must be celebrating at Aston Martin, which has just been named the UK’s coolest brand for the second year running.
This wasn’t just a suvey of car makers. The small British manufacturer beat off competition from the likes of iPod (in second place), YouTube (in third place) and Google (fifth).
The top 20 was compiled by the CoolBrands Council, a group of style experts, designers and commentators from across Britain, and took into account a poll on the opinions of more than 2,000 members of the public.
According to the organisers, the definition of a “CoolBrand” is one that “has a magic about it, signifying that users have a sense of taste and style.”
Other high scoring brands in a decidely broad list included watchmaker Rolex (9th) champagne house Dom Perignon (11th), airline Virgin Atlantic (12th), Boss fragrance (18th) and Facebook (19th).
Aston Martin’s British gentleman’s express image helped, of course, with UK consumers taking part in the survey, as did the marque’s associations with the James Bond film franchise over a number of years.
After a few years in the wilderness, the new image of Bond as played by Daniel Craig is decidedly cool once more. An Aston will feature once again in the imminent new release, the curiously-titled Quantum of Solace, although people probably still most remember the DB5 from Goldfinger.
Ironically, Aston Martin’s finest only appeared in that first Bond film back in 1964 because – unbelievably – Jaguar refused to supply an E-Type, the car which had been the film maker’s first choice for the dapper British agent’s personal transport. The DB5 went on to become one of the archetypal symbols of the UK in the ‘sixties.
Two Italian supercar brands figured in the bottom half of the cool list, with Ferrari coming in at 13th and Lamborghini just scraping in at number 20. One Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Ducati, also did well at 14th overall.
Notably absent from the list were the likes of Bentley, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and so on.
Aston Martin, which recently successfully regained its independence from Ford, could do with a boost. After recent years of success for the one-time basket case company, it has seen its share of the European exotic sports car market begin to fall away in 2008.
Previously the market leader with its V8 Vantage, Aston Martin shifted 1,251 units of that model in Europe between January and June, compared to 1,408 for arch-rival Ferrari’s F430, which trailed its British rival last year.
Both were, however, blown away by the spectacular success of Audi’s first supercar, the R8, which shifted an impressive 1,992 units across the continent, up 250% on the same period last year, with quite a substantial chunk of those sales in the UK. Those R8 buyers may not have the coolest badge on their radiator but they clearly think Audi is getting something right.
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