What is cool anyway?

by Pete Broadbent on 28 September 2012

According to Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame “Being cool is being your own self, not doing something that someone else is telling you to do.”

But according to a poll published this week by coolbrands cool can be defined... Apple tops their survey in a top 10 of surprisingly intangible brands including YouTube, twitter, google and BBC iPlayer.

For the first year in its eleven year history the poll is dominated by social media brands (with one major exception!) in fact a quarter of the brands (as the BBC is keen to point out) are free to the consumer. Previous years have included Harley-Davidson, Rolex, Ferrari, Chanel and Maserati none of whom make the cool grade this year! The author of the report puts this accessibility down to the economic climate: "It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure," said Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands expert council.

Alternatively Mic Wright in the telegraph has a very different view. “The whole CoolBrands jamboree is a gross misuse of an already thoroughly debased concept. The 20 brands that made the grade have one thing in common – they spend huge amounts on marketing. Whether you pay through a tax (BBC iPlayer), sharing personal information (Google) or with cash (Apple),” The 2012/13 the top 20 are: 1. Apple 2. YouTube 3. Aston Martin 4. Twitter 5. Google 6. BBC iPlayer 7. Glastonbury 8. Virgin Atlantic 9. Bang & Olufsen 10. Liberty 11. Sony 12. Bose 13. Häagen-Dazs 14. Selfridges 15. Ben & Jerry's 16. Mercedes-Benz 17. Vogue 18. Skype 19. Nike 20. Nikon Is this evidence that geek chic is taking over or that marketing can drive cool, you decide...

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