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Assaulted by private labels, fighting for shelf space and combing for new ways to reach media-saturated consumers, marketers find the job of creating and sustaining brand names tougher than ever.

Some brands are clearly in trouble, facing severe sales dropoffs and even the possibility of extinction. Their struggles, while category-specific, also leave lessons for marketers facing the same dilemmas: trying to stay relevant; searching for the right price point without going too high or too low; justifying marketing spending in penny-pinching times. The challenges are universal.

But while many struggle, other brands shine-supported by great advertising, packaging, line extensions, positionings or distribution. Or simply by being in the right place at the right time. Their successes create a road map for marketers seeking a competitive edge.

Here, Advertising Age presents its own road map for the coming year: A gallery of brands in trouble and brands in demand.

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