Methodology to the Megabrands Reports

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Methodology for Ad Age's Megabrands report.

Advertising Age's megabrand concept builds on multiple products marketed under the same name.

The megabranding procedure begins with brands established by industry subclass from the top 250 advertisers as reported by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR which monitors 13 ad mediums´┐Żmagazines, Sunday magazines, newspapers, national newspapers, network TV, spot TV, syndicated TV, cable TV networks, Spanish-language TV networks, network radio, national spot radio, outdoor and Internet.

Brand names are then edited to create catchalls. For example, Ford Taurus and Ford trucks, listed separately buy the TNS MI/CMR data, become the Ford vehicles megabrand.

Fine-tuning is a byproduct of this report. WorldCom's various dialing brands (10-10-987 and 10-10-220) aren't consolidated because they bear their own identity as does the MCI telephone services megabrand. Fellow category player, AT&T, is a combo of AT&T long distance and AT&T Wireless. It includes the wireless business even though AT&T Wireless Services has been spun off from AT&T. The reason: they both play on the AT&T name status.

Megabranding has evolved as an art. In the first brand issue 14 years ago, the working definition for a megabrand was a line of products or services bearing the same name within an industry subclass. That became shortsighted for brands that cross several subclasses like Alka-Seltzer as it expanded from antacids to cold remedies. Megabranding now gathers spending across subclasses.

Companies become their own megabrand when corporate promotion dollars are poured into media coffers. General Motors corporate, for example, is an amalgam of corporate promotion, various corporate auto advertising, GM MasterCard, GM Powertrain transmissions, GM Vortec engine, online and GM Goodwrench.

Movies are not ranked as megabrands, because they lack continuity in spending from year-to-year. Indeed, the window of ad support for most movies is a couple of months at best. Ethical drugs are considered megabrands although ad support for new drugs has a continuity problem as well. The path taken by many newly-introduced pharmaceuticals is a two-year media burst, and for that, Ad Age megabrands prescription drugs.

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