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

Ad Age's megabranding procedure begins with brands established by industry subclass, looking at the top 250 advertisers as reported by Competitive Media Reporting.

Brand names are then edited to create catchalls. Ford Escort, Ford Taurus and Ford trucks, listed separately by CMR, become the Ford vehicles megabrand, for example.

CMR's listing of brand names sometimes omits a megabrand link, requiring a certain flexibility. As an example, AA adds the L'Oreal megatag to Studio Line. Studio Line is presented in CMR data without the L'Oreal attachment.

This year AA pulled from the MCI WorldCom telephone services megabrand the ad contributions from the company's 10-10-220, 10-10-321 direct dial numbers and 1-800-Collect because the identity of these calling numbers do not play off their MCI WorldCom connection. The direct dial 10-10-345 from AT&T Corp. was omitted from its megabrand totals as well. MCI WorldCom's special calling numbers each made the report.

Fine-tuning is a byproduct of this report. In the first brand issue 11 years ago, the working definition was a line of products or services bearing the same name within an industry subclass.

This inaugural definition was short-sighted for brands that crossed several subclasses. Among the many examples, there is the case of Alka-Seltzer. Alka-Seltzer, firmly rooted in antacids, was expanding into cold remedies, another subclass.

Little doubt, the branding clout of Alka-Seltzer gave it strong recognition in the cold remedies aisle. At that time, the methodology didn't allow coupling of ad dollars from two subclasses. It does now.

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