How the Survey Was Done

What sells? Sex, sports, celebs - and skivvies.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 07/23/2008

What sells? Sex, sports, celebs — and skivvies.

This story first appeared in the July 23, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The 2008 WWD100 consumer survey of brand recognition is a refl ection of the times. Brands certainly get a boost when they’re attached to a famous face, spotted on the red carpet, blasted in the background of a major sports event or decorating the shirt of a star athlete. But the most familiar brands aren’t necessarily the ones grabbing the biggest headlines. They are often the day-in, day-out staples of American wardrobes, accessible to a broad audience and available in a vast number of retail outlets. Giant ad campaigns in all sorts of traditional and new media keep the brand in consumer consciousness — and a bargain price point goes a long way, too, especially in these purse-strangling times.

This, the 11th survey, saw some wide swings among brands’ rankings, but for the sixth consecutive year, the most familiar label to American women remains Hanes, the fl agship innerwear brand of the $4.5 billion Hanesbrands conglomerate. Nike jumped to the second spot from sixth last year, trading places with Timex. Nine of the 10 most familiar brands remained in the top 10 from last year, although the order was somewhat shuffled.

To assess Americans’ awareness of apparel and accessories brands, WWD commissioned Synovate, a New York-based market research fi rm. Synovate conducted an online poll of women between the ages of 13 and 64, with minimum household incomes of $35,000. The survey yielded 2,218 responses, including 247 teens age 13 to 17, and was fi elded May 1 to 9.

The questionnaire contained 1,054 prelisted brands in 12 categories, like denim, designer, accessories, innerwear, sportswear, etc. Women were asked to say whether they were “very familiar,” “somewhat familiar” or “not at all familiar” with each brand. The results are a straightforward ranking of brands with the highest number of “very familiar” responses.

Some brands are listed in multiple categories. For the overall top 100 ranking, they are rated using a net score and listed only once. For the various categories’ top 10 lists, however, brands are ranked only against other brands in that category. For example, outerwear brands compete with outerwear brands, swim labels with swim labels, etc., and the scores are based on performance in that category only.

The results are accurate at the 95 percent confidence level and nationally projectable based on U.S. census data. Eight ties make for a total of 108 brands in the overall listing. Volumes are wholesale unless otherwise noted. — Dianne M. Pogoda