Nike has once again been voted the overall coolest brand in the Sunday Times Generation Next youth survey. The brand claimed top spot in three of the 75 categories surveyed, including coolest clothing brand, coolest brand slogan and coolest footwear brand.

The Sunday Times Generation Next youth survey is an annual survey that measures youth sentiment towards brands and celebrities in SA. The survey, conducted by HDI Youth Marketeers, polls young people between the ages of eight and 23 across urban and peri-urban areas of the country.

A number of brands maintained their top spot from last year, including FNB (coolest bank), Mr Price (coolest clothing store), SA Airways (coolest domestic airline), Protea Hotels (coolest hotel group), Sandton City (coolest shopping mall), Identity (coolest SA fashion brand), Vodacom (coolest telecoms provider), Engen (coolest petrol station), Sunday Times (coolest weekly newspaper), Google Play Store (coolest music retailer), Metro FM (coolest radio station), Top Gear magazine (coolest magazine), McDonald’s (coolest fast-food place), Spur (coolest eat-out place), Red Bull (coolest energy product), Doritos (coolest snack), Coca-Cola (coolest cold drink), Jelly Tots (coolest sweet) and Mugg & Bean (coolest coffee shop).

For the second year running, WhatsApp was voted both coolest social media platform and coolest cellphone application, while Samsung was voted coolest cellphone and coolest computer brand.

A number of new categories were introduced this year, including coolest footwear/shoe store (Totalsports), coolest stationery store (CNA), coolest ice cream (Magnum), coolest local screen/TV star (Trevor Noah), coolest university (University of Cape Town), coolest stationery (Bic), coolest pet food (Whiskers), coolest spread/sauce (Nutella), coolest college (Rosebank College), coolest yoghurt (Parmalat) and coolest method of transport (Gautrain).  

One of the biggest changes coming out of this year’s survey, says HDI Youth Marketeers MD Catherine Bothma, is that the youth are becoming more aware of their consumption habits. They increasingly want to be associated with brands that invest in their communities, do good, make them feel special and, importantly, are accessible and affordable. They’re also focusing less on cellphones and money, and prioritising family, religion and education.

As far as celebrities are concerned, SA’s youth want to support celebrities who have an international presence and represent the country positively. Not surprisingly, Trevor Noah was voted both the coolest local screen/TV star and coolest local male celebrity.

Headline partners for this year’s Sunday Times Generation Next survey include Nedbank, Brand SA, Proudly SA and Kotex.

The big take-out: Nike was once again voted the overall coolest brand in the Sunday Times Generation Next youth survey.

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