Brand of the year 2016

Channel 4 won the 2016 title

Channel 4, one of the UK’s most admired media owners, was voted The Marketing Society’s Brand of the Year at its Global Dinner. The award recognises marketing excellence and is held in association with Campaign and sponsored by Videology.

Over 550 marketers cast their vote live on the night, selecting the media channel from a shortlist of four other brands unveiled on the night – Amazon Prime, BT, McDonald’s and Cancer Research.

Marketing Society members and readers of Campaign magazine selected the shortlist from an original list of 20 brands.  Channel 4 joins an illustrious line of Brands of the Year including O2 in 2015, Macmillan Cancer Support in 2014 and Sainsbury’s in 2013

At the same event, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever was given the Outstanding Leadership Award for his contribution to business and marketing.

Channel 4 has had a stellar year. Its coverage of the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio was well received, with the channel fielding an unprecedented team of disabled talent including Breaking Bad actor, RJ Mitte. C4 will build on its achievements to cover the next Summer and Winter Paralympics. Meanwhile, Great British Bake Off fans wait with bated breath to see what Channel 4 will do with the popular show following its move from the BBC.

Watch our interview with Channel 4 from the night to see their reactions.

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You know a brand has made it when it becomes a verb. The phenomenal rise of this Silicon Valley room-letting start-up saw it host 17m people in the summer of 2015 alone in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. At $30bn it is worth more than Hilton Hotels.
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Amazon Prime

Amazon’s continuing domination of the marketplace may be due in part to its exceptional ability to find innovative new ways to drive revenue. Amazon Prime membership includes unlimited free two-day shipping, combined with free music and video streaming and tends to boost customer spending dramatically, growing by 35% in 2015
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British Gas

Serving around 12 million homes in the UK, British Gas is the biggest UK energy supplier and one of the Big Six dominating the market. A recent champion of the ‘internet of things’, it has continued its move towards the ‘connected home’ by snapping up FlowGem, an innovative new technology which detects leaky water pipes.
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It has been a landmark year for BT. BT Sports channels successfully rivalled Sky and it announced a £6bn investment plan – while the acquisition of EE boosted the company’s overall performance, with a Q4 revenue rise of 22 per cent to £5.7 billion, and net profits rising to £756 million from £690 million.
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Cancer Research UK

This year, Cancer Research has let us into the human side of its brand, through ‘Right Now’ the charity’s groundbreaking campaign. It is becoming known as much for the impact its research has on patients as the research itself. 2016 also saw the launch of a free online course to help people talk about cancer.
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Channel 4

Channel 4 did it again, and we’re not talking about Bake Off. Its coverage of the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio was well received, with the channel fielding an unprecedented team of disabled talent including Breaking Bad actor, RJ Mitte. C4 will build on its achievements to cover the next Summer and Winter Paralympics.
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There’s a new kid in town, changing the way we eat fast food. Deliveroo’s exponential growth has seen the food delivery service raise over $472m in three years in VC and been valued at $1 billion. A new colourful rebrand aims to improve public perception following a pay dispute with its delivery riders.
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Direct Line

Direct Line is the classic turnaround brand. Two years ago, the insurer was haemorrhaging thousands of customers every week. Today, thanks to a big brand idea about becoming the “fixer”, a gangster spokesman AKA Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf and improved internal processes stripping the hassle from insurance - Direct Line is back in the game.
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Thanks to feisty heroines and the welcome return of a forgetful fish, Disney is on a roll. Finding Dory was the most successful launch for an animated film in the US, taking $136.2m in its opening weekend. A stake in streaming service BAMTech is a nod to changing viewing habits.
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Let the battle begin. Intercontinental Hotel Group is fighting back against price comparison websites. From rewarding loyal travellers with discounts on direct bookings to using programmatic to show potential guests that the best prices don’t always come from third parties - IHG is determined to regain control of its customer relationships.
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It’s a quiet revolution, but McDonald’s is changing. Salt in Happy Meals has reduced by 47.4% and less than a quarter are sold with a sugary fizzy drink compared to over half in 2000. This year brought innovations including gourmet burgers and table service. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is trialling quinoa.
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Microsoft is looking to the future. Its hefty $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn was a bet on the software company’s long-term survival and that social networks will be at the centre of our professional lives rather than mainstays such as Windows. It has also partnered with Google, Facebook and IBM for artificial intelligence research.
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Netflix’s star is still in the ascendant. The on-demand, commercial-free streaming service has changed the way we watch telly and disrupted the entire entertainment industry in the process. Bingeing on full seasons of TV shows from Breaking Bad to The House of Cards has become commonplace to its 83.2 million users. Welcome to the new world order.
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Two words – Pokémon Go. The augmented reality smartphone game became an instant hit on its release in July 2016 proving lucrative for partial owner, Nintendo. In mid-September there were still 32.4 million players, despite the fact the game is banned in Iran, while Pentagon staff must play outside the building.
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Sensitive teeth could become a thing of the past thanks to Sensodyne’s stellar growth. The GSK brand was awarded The Marketing Society’s Grand Prix. Formerly a small player in a niche category, Sensodyne is now a $1bn brand, in a category it has built into a significant 20% of all toothpaste.
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Don’t underestimate the ambitions of Snapchat. The photo-messaging service has now passed Twitter in total users, and its young demographic appeals to advertisers. The average user spends 25-30 minutes within its walls. Its first foray into products comes in the form of a pair of spectacles. Watch this space.
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Growth isn’t easy. But Starbucks, one of the original coffee retail brands continues to adapt in response to changing customer needs. Recent innovations include a new express store in Canary Wharf, which halves the time it takes to order a coffee. Similarly, its mobile app and digital loyalty offering have reaped rewards.
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A story in how you build a global brand without advertising, the canny electric car company has won hearts and minds. The road has been a little bumpy including overcoming disputes with the car dealership community about its direct sales model. However, Tesla’s first widely affordable car – Model 3 has generated over 400,000 pre-orders.
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The National Lottery

The National Lottery is about making dreams come true, but it also supports many good causes. This year, Camelot showed the British public the positive impact of the lottery. Players contribute over £80m a year to support 1,300 athletes and the ‘I Am Team GB’ Olympic ad push brought this to life.
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Under Armour

Under Armour’s ambitions show no sign of abating. The $4bn company plans to become the world’s biggest sports brand, and now only Nike stands in its way. The brand has a fitness community of 165 million users using apps like MapMyFitness and new deals with Southampton FC and the Welsh Rugby Team.

Thank You for Voting

Join us on the night at our Global Annual Dinner for a live vote to decide the winner.